Campaign launched to buy 482k Wedgewood vase
A campaign has been launched by the Friends of the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery group to buy one of the rarest pieces of Wedgwood pottery in Stoke-on-Trent
According to the Stoke Sentinel, a £482,500 fund-raising campaign has been launched today to keep one of the rarest pieces of Wedgwood pottery in Stoke-on-Trent.
It comes after the Government placed a temporary export ban on the First Day's Vase, which was sold at auction to a mystery buyer who is thought to be American.
Now the Friends of the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery group has until March 14 to raise the money needed to save it for the nation.
Only four vases survive from the first day at Etruria – the opening day of Josiah Wedgwood’s factory at Etruria in 1769, each slightly different. Two are part of the Victoria & Albert Museum’s collection while the third remains with Josiah’s descendants.
This is the only vase ever to have been sold and it will disappear overseas forever unless money is raised to keep it in the place where it was made.
The 10-inch tall black basalts vase was, like the other three, made by Josiah Wedgwood’s own hands, its hand-painted design was inspired by ancient Greek pottery and the vase holds huge importance, not just as a piece of neo-classical art but as a symbol of a pivotal moment for the pottery industry.
Miranda Goodby, senior curator for ceramics at the Hanley-based museum, said: “It was when it became an international industry. The factory by the canal in Etruria was the lifeblood to Europe, America and the rest of the world that was opening up in the 1760s.
“There are so many ways in which this vase is so important."
Wedgwood had never intended for the piece to be sold and it remained in the family for almost 250 years. It had been on loan to the Potteries Museum since 1979.
But when the item was put up for auction last summer, to an overseas buyer for £482,500.
Due to the vase’s historic and artistic importance the Minister of State for Culture has stepped in and deferred its export licence until March 2017 giving the Stoke on Trent Museum chance to raise the funds to match the auction price.
Now the Friends group – which is leading the fund-raising on behalf of Stoke-on-Trent City Council – has appealed to the North Staffordshire public for help.
Friends chairman Ian Lawley said they would also be applying to bodies such as the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund for support. But he added: “Every pound raised locally helps to prove to the national funding charities that we care about our heritage here, and that is worth saving.
“The First Day's Vase is not just closely connected with Stoke-on-Trent's history, but with our wider national life too.
“It is a tangible link with Josiah Wedgwood himself – one of the most influential potters of all time. It is something that he actually made and held in his own hands."
If the city council can buy the vase, it will also be used to help promote the bid to become 2021 City of Culture.
Around £1,000 has already been donated through the Northern Ceramics Society. Donate by clicking here