Stoke & Staffordshire

Wedgwood vase to return to Stoke after £482k campaign

First Day's Vase
Image caption The First Day's Vase had been on loan to the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery for 35 years before it was sold at auction

A rare piece of Wedgwood pottery will return to Stoke-on-Trent after an appeal raised £482,500 to buy it.

The First Day's Vase had been on loan to the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery for 35 years.

But it was withdrawn by its owner and sold at auction to an overseas buyer in 2016.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Friends of the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery have now raised the purchase price to keep the vase in the city.

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The 10in high (25.4cm) vase has been saved after the National Heritage Memorial Fund stepped in with a grant of up to £267,500 to make up the shortfall in the fundraising campaign.

It came days before a deadline to raise the money was due to expire, the council said.

A temporary export bar was placed on it by the government in December, which was extended until 14 July.

'Iconic'

Ian Lawley, chairman of the friends of the museum group, said: "This is great news, not just for Stoke-on-Trent but for the nation.

"The support of major funding bodies such as the National Heritage Memorial Fund has been crucial in meeting our target and reflects the historical importance of this iconic vase."

Money was also raised from donations from members of the public, as well as support from funding bodies including Art Fund.

Arrangements are now being made for the vase's return, the council said.

The vase was made by Josiah Wedgwood on the opening day of his factory at Etruria, Staffordshire, on 13 June 1769 and is one of only four that survive.

Two of the others are owned by the Victoria and Albert Museum while the third remains in the Wedgwood family, the council said.

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