V&A confirms loan of Wedgwood Collection

Ceramics collection will remain at Wedgwood Museum in Staffordshire
Gary Noakes
The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London has confirmed the long-term loan of the Wedgwood Collection to the Wedgwood Museum Trust after a successful appeal to raise the final tranche of the £15.75m needed to save it for the nation.

The last £2.74m was secured in October following an Art Fund appeal that secured the cash within three months.

The collection had been in danger of being broken up after the high court ruled that it could be disposed of to help fill a £135m pension deficit after the collapse of Waterford Wedgwood Potteries in 2010, which saw the Stoke-on-Trent museum also placed in administration.

Administrator Begbies Traynor had applied to the high court to determine whether the collection, worth around £18m, could be auctioned to pay creditors.

The high court’s approval was upheld by the attorney general but in September the administrator agreed to sell the collection to the nation for £15.75m, provided a deal could be done by the end of November.

The bulk of the funding was already in place because the major backer of the Wedgwood Museum’s 2005 redevelopment, the Heritage Lottery Fund, had a charge for £5.8m, which took precedence over other creditors’ claims.

It agreed to transfer this towards the cost of the purchase and invest a further grant of up to £5m.

A £1m grant from the Art Fund, £1m from a private trust and donations of £150,000 from two private foundations, left £2.74m to be raised by the Art Fund by 30 November.

The collection will now stay at the Wedgwood Estate museum at Barlaston, Staffordshire.

In spring 2015 the museum will reopen as part of the World of Wedgwood, a new attraction that will explore the brand’s production, heritage and craftsmanship.

The V&A said its guardianship of the Wedgwood Collection would “ensure it can never be put at risk again”.

“It’s a cause for great celebration that only three months after the Art Fund initially launched the public appeal to save the Wedgwood Collection our plan has been realised in full,” said Stephen Deuchar, the director of the Art Fund.

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