Save the Wedgwood Collection

The Art Fund has launched an appeal to buy the Wedgwood Collection – a body of more than 80,000 historical pieces that is in danger of being separated and sold off.

The Wedgwood Collection was built up over a period of 250 years. It was started by Josiah Wedgwood in 1774 and in 1906 Wedgwood & Sons set up a permanent museum to host the collection.

Alongside samples of Wedgwood Pottery are rare manuscripts and letters, pattern books, works of art and photographs.

The collection is at risk of being sold off to cover the debts of the Wedgwood Museum Trust, which inherited £134 million in liabilities following the collapse of the UK subsidiary of Waterford Wedgwood Plc.

The Art Fund needs to raise a total of £15.75 million by 30 November to save the collection – and is just £2.74 million short of its target.

If it can rescue the collection, the Art Fund says it plans to gift it to the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The Art Fund says, ‘Without needing to move it, but with its ownership secure in perpetuity, the V&A intends to assign it on long-term loan to the Wedgwood Museum at Barlaston, which will lie at the heart of a major new visitor experience as part of Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton’s £34 million redevelopment of the site – set for completion in spring 2015.’

It adds, ‘The future of the remarkable Wedgwood Collection has never looked brighter – provided the funds can be raised.’

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