In the 1700s, Josiah Wedgwood carried on the medallion tradition when he inherited a pottery shop. Wedgwood lived at the same time as British neo-classical architect and interior designer Robert Adam. Wedgwood took advantage of the classical influence that spread over England and produced pottery that harmonized with Adam’s furniture and other interior decorations. Adam sought to transfuse the beautiful spirit of antiquity with novelty and variety.
Wedgwood’s greatest fame rests in medallions on a smaller scale — on his jasperware, a dull white bisque capable of being colored and ornamented, used in a wide variety of collectible tableware, from mugs to plates to cups. The colors of the background were blue, olive green, black, lilac or sage, most often with white ornaments.
In earlier days, his larger sculptural pieces were often used as panel insertions in walls, mantels, door trim and furniture appliqués.
Now the designs are back in style. To keep the foyer connected to the rest of the house, use the same flooring as in the adjacent spaces. For interest, you might add inserts or a contrast border: stone or tile in a wood floor; Tile Medallions, or marble borders in a limestone floor.
Lighting is another consideration. For a softer ambiance, my favorite choice is a beautiful chandelier with shades and a dimmer switch. If possible, add architectural details, such as a dome where the light fixture could fit or moldings that could be faux finished or gold leafed.
A custom area rug using commercial grade carpeting is another solution. Even with a mat outside, people will wipe their feet on the foyer rug. But I’ve found that if the outside mat is sisal, people are more likely to use it. And the inside rug should be professionally sealed to resist dirt and stains.