Art Fund campaign secures Minton Archive for £1.56m

Objects from archive to be displayed in Wedgwood Museum
Patrick Steel
The Minton Archive, which includes the comprehensive records of Staffordshire pottery companies Minton and Royal Doulton, has been purchased from the Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton (WWRD) company for £1.56m following a fundraising campaign led by the Art Fund.

The archive, which had been held at the London auctioneers Bonhams since 2007, has been gifted to the city of Stoke-on-Trent and will be owned, managed and made publicly accessible by the Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council Joint Archives Service.

The service is planning to loan key parts of the archive to the Wedgwood Museum, which shares a site with WWRD’s Barlaston factory, and which is currently being redeveloped alongside a new visitor centre and retail space due to open next month.

The fundraising campaign saw a £1.16m grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and donations from The Pilgrim Trust, the Bamford Charitable Foundation, the Bet365 Foundation, J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust, Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement, and the William A. Cadbury Charitable Trust.

Stephen Deuchar, the Art Fund’s director, said: “For years, the Art Fund has fought to protect the Minton Archive, keeping it in its rightful place in Staffordshire, and bringing it into safe public ownership.

“We’re delighted that an archive that incorporates major works of art amidst a treasure trove of industrial history has finally been saved for the nation.

“Through its scope and scale it offers unprecedented insight into design and manufacturing processes from the 18th to the 20th centuries, thereby telling the fascinating story of Staffordshire’s renowned pottery industry in colour and in depth.

“We thank and salute all those donors – and especially the National Heritage Memorial Fund – who helped make this possible. We are also grateful to WWRD for agreeing to sell the archive intact to a public institution, and for working with us closely and co-operatively throughout.”

Anthony Jones, the executive vice president and chief financial officer of WWRD, said: “The Minton Archive is a vital part of the history of the British potteries industry.

“We are delighted that the archive will remain in Staffordshire, accessible to all and a reminder to the world of our rich industrial heritage.”

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