Wedgwood Collection secure after public appeal reaches target

Geraldine Kendall, 03.10.2014
Ceramics collection to be gifted to the V&A
The Wedgwood Collection has been saved for the nation after a public fundraising appeal by the Art Fund reached its £2.74m target within one month.

The ceramics collection was put at risk of being sold off after the high court ruled in 2012 that Wedgwood Museum Trust was liable for the £134m pension deficit left behind following the collapse of Waterford Wedgwood in 2009.

The collection would have been sold at auction if the final £2.74m needed towards its £15.75m acquisition had not been found by 30 November.

The public appeal, which was launched at the start of September, attracted donations from individuals, businesses and grant giving foundations. All public donations were matched pound for pound by a private charitable foundation.

Several large donations, including £250,000 from the bet365 Foundation, £100,000 from the Bamford Charitable Foundation and £100,000 from Staffordshire County Council, gave the campaign a boost.

Stephen Deuchar, the director of the Art Fund, said: “This amazing show of public support for the Wedgwood Collection has made this the fastest fundraising campaign in the Art Fund’s 111 year history.

“It demonstrates nothing less than a national passion for Wedgwood - its history, its quality, its brand, its continuity - bringing about a potent combination of donations big and small, ranging from £10 gifts via text to six-figure cheques.”

The majority of the aqcuisition cost was raised prior to the public appeal through substantial grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Art Fund and a number of private trusts and foundations.

The final tranche of funding enables the collection to be purchased by the Art Fund, which plans to gift it to London's Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

The collection will be kept on long-term loan at its current home, the Wedgwood Museum in Barlaston, where a £34m redevelopment is to be completed in spring next year.

Carole Souter, the chief executive of the HLF, said: “As a long-standing supporter of the Wedgwood Museum Trust, we’re delighted that the campaign to save the collection has been so successful. 

"The general public has responded magnificently to the fundraising appeal and we’re proud to be playing a major part. It’s a great relief to know that the Wedgwood Collection can now be bought as a whole and remain in its home.”

The collection contains more than 80,000 works of art, ceramics, manuscripts and letters, pattern books and photographs spanning the 250-year history of the company.

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