Monday, September 8, 2014

Collection cohesion

The Wedgewood Collection is more than just a bunch of pretty teacups. It is 80,000 pieces of pottery spanning 250 years of history and accompanied by documentation (manuscripts. letters, pattern books, and photographs) that is invaluable to scholars who study globalization, the spread of capitalism, and the industrial revolution. Those scholars, members of British Parliament, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Wedgewood family, and private donors are mobilizing to prevent the collection from being broken up and auctioned off due to the insolvency of Waterford Wedgwood Plc. Christie's has already designed and printed the catalogs in readiness. A total of £13.1 million has thus far been raised to retain the collection currently housed at the Wedgwood Museum in Stoke-on-Trent and the final £2.74 million must be collected in the next 3 months. Chris Smith, chairman of the Art Fund which is coordinating the fundraising appeal, noted that the “clock is ticking” and director Stephan Deuchar called the impending dispersal the charity’s “worst nightmare.”

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