Save the Wedgwood treasures!

Save the Wedgwood treasures!

Walk out of Stoke-on-Trent station and you are greeted by a marvellous statue of Josiah Wedgwood the First clutching a copy of the Portland Vase, a rare Roman artefact in the British Museum. The great manufacturer made 50 celebrated copies of the vase in his Staffordshire pottery factory in 1790, when the craze for his ceramics was at its height. The vases represent just a few of the millions of pottery pieces the Wedgwood company produced over the past two and a half centuries, which still grace sideboards across Britain — and the world.

Slave medallions, 1787: In the 1780s, Josiah Wedgwood, an anti-slavery activist, produced medallions advocating its abolition, made and distributed at his own expense. Bearing the motto ‘Am I not a man and a brother?’, they were tremendously popular Pretty soon, though, that statue could be the last significant trace of the master potter in his home city. In a story that sums up the woeful tale of British manufacturing over the past half-century, Stoke’s Wedgwood Collection — the best collection of pottery in the country — will be divided up and flogged off, unless a £15.75 million rescue plan can save it for the nation.

RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next ‘I have never seen people so badly dressed in my life!’… Monsters, motorbikes, planes and the cheeky word buttock!… Share this article Share The collection — begun in 1906 and held at Stoke’s Wedgwood Museum — contains 8,000 of the finest pieces made at Wedgwood’s factories over the years. The Apotheosis of Homer Vase, 1786: (left) Depicts the Greek poet being summoned to heaven — an ‘apotheosis’ — because of his brilliance, as he strums his lyre.

Josiah Wedgwood offered this vase to the British Museum, which accepted it, despite strict rules about having only historic objects; Fish vase, 1975 Elwyn James was talent-spotted by the Wedgwood chairman while he was a student at Wrexham Art College in the Sixties. Working in tricky bone china, he hand-carved each individual detail onto this vase and used some of his own experimental glazes Among the treasures is one of six vases thrown by Josiah Wedgwood himself on the opening of his main works, named Etruria, on June 13, 1769.

There are also Victorian lobster salad bowls and the famous Frog Service, ordered by Catherine the Great of Russia and distinguished by a little frog design on each piece. There’s the famous copies of that Portland Vase, as brandished by Josiah outside Stoke railway station, and rare family portraits by celebrated painter George Stubbs. (At Josiah’s suggestion, the artist made ‘payment in painting’ for the huge terracotta plaques he would use to paint on.) Lobster Salad Bowl, 1880: This bowl was made from Queen’s ware — cream-coloured earthenware —printed and painted in enamel colours.

Wedgwood didn’t invent this type of tableware, Cách đặt lục bình gỗ tphcm lục bình gỗ tphcm gỗ trong nhà but he did refine and develop it, by introducing Cornish clay and stone to provide a paler pottery with a more sophisticated glaze But all this is at risk, thanks to a series of disastrous business decisions. The firm remained in the Wedgwood family until the middle of the last century, when Josiah Wedgwood V, great-great-great grandson of the founder, floated it on the stock market.

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