Cash boost for campaign to save rare Wedgwood vase for Stoke-on-Trent

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An appeal to raise money to save a rare piece of Stoke-on-Trent pottery has today been given a boost.

The campaign to save The First Day’s Vase, created by master potter Josiah Wedgwood himself, will receive £500.

The Friends of the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery are spearheading a campaign to raise £482,500 bring the vase back to Stoke-on-Trent, and put it back in the museum on permanent display.

The vase was pride of place in the museum since it was loaned to them in 1979, but it was bought at auction by an overseas buyer in the United States last July.

Members of North Staffordshire NADFAS (The National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies) raised £500 and handed over the money to the museum today (March 14).

Members of NADFAS: Margaret Thompstone and Ian Lawley beside the empty glass box

North Staffordshire NADFAS chairman Margaret Thompstone said: “The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery is the jewel in the crown of the city’s Cultural Quarter and is the rightful home for this important part of our cultural heritage.

“We must seize the opportunity to acquire this work of art before we lose it forever.”

Keith Bloor, manager of the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, spoke about the importance of the vase being back in its hometown of Stoke-on-Trent.

The vase had featured in a special exhibition at the museum charting how pottery has been produced throughout the years.

But now there is just an empty glass box where the vase had stood.

John Snape, NADFAS vice chairman, said: “It is part of our cultural heritage and it is sad to see it go.

“When you walk out of the station, what do you see? You see a statue of Josiah Wedgwood.”

Cllr Terry Follows, the city council’s cabinet member for greener city, development and leisure, added: “It really does show that local people care about and value their cultural heritage.

“Every penny we receive brings us closer to our goal of saving this iconic vase for the people of Stoke-on-Trent.”

Members of NADFAS believe the vase could play a huge part in Stoke-on-Trent’s bid to be named the City of Culture 2021.

Brian Lewis, NAFDAS President, said: “There is a lot of culture here.

“We have just got to do what we can to support the bid. But the vase should be a centre-piece.”

£83,000 has been raised by public funds along with a £60,000 Arts Council England grant to help boost the fund.

The deadline to raise the money to buy back the vase was today, but campaigners are hoping to have a three-month extension until July 14.

The First Day’s Vase is only one of four that has survived from the opening day of Wedgwood’s world-famous Etruria factory in 1769.

It was owned by Anne Makeig-Jones, the daughter of Doris Wedgwood and Thomas Makeig-Jones and granddaughter of Cecil Wedgwood, but sold at auction in London last July to US buyers.

The vase remains in London after the Government placed an export ban on the rare ornament in the hope a UK buyer would come forward.

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