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The Campaign to Save the Wedgwood Museum received the shocking news that theÂ UNESCOÂ recognisedÂ archive of international importance isÂ notÂ held in trust and can be dispersed and sold to meet whollyÂ disproportionateÂ ÂŁ135m Pension Fund liabilities.
Read the Press release from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) lawyershere. Stoke-upon-Trent MP Hon. Dr Tristram Hunt MP is meeting with Government Ministers on December 20th to discuss the plight of the Museum.
The Battle continues – continuedÂ politicalÂ lobbying is essential:Â write to your MPÂ to drive home howÂ importantÂ this unique collection is to you.
Campaign leader Alison Wedgwood:Â “We will begin a fund raising campaign in the new year, asking the government for urgent support, and seeking support from the Art Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund and as many generous philanthropists as we can cajole. This collection is not leaving Staffordshire without a fight!”
WriteÂ to you MP,Â JoinÂ ourÂ SupportersÂ roll to declare your support and to be kept up to date with the Campaign: help to Save Wedgwood for the Nation.
I was shocked to hear of this disgusting decision – I presume under the existing law the courts had little option! Â I have written to my local MP seeking support and would ask that all who read this article do the same – either to their MP or if outside the UK, Direct to the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. David Cameron.
Please also Join the supporters group above.
Here is a copy of my letter:
Dear Nicholas Soames,â¨I run a major website for ceramic art, www.studiopottery.co.uk with an audience of some 25000 per month, with several hundred ceramic artist members. I have watched the unfolding saga surrounding the Wedgwood Museum with consternation and sadness. In essence, as I understand it, because a few museum staff were linked with the company the whole of the assets of the museum can be claimed and sold for the benefit of the old group pension scheme deficit. This ‘loophole’ in the law has been confirmed by the court this week. â¨The result is that this archive of International importance, recognised by UNESCO can now be split up and sold off to meet the group pension fund liabilities.
Destruction of this unique collection and archive, which was always intended to be held in trust for perpetuity would be a National DISGRACE.â¨â¨Both personally and on behalf of Studiopottery.co.uk we seek your support in finding a way that this unique collection can be saved for the nation and for future generations.â¨â¨
Yours sincerely,â¨â¨Stephen Deeâ¨
Founder and Directorâ¨Studiopottery.co.uk
Curated in conjunction with Arts and Crafts property, National Trust Standen,Â De Morgans and the SeaÂ gives visitors the opportunity to explore maritime influences in the work of the De Morgans. The theme of the sea was a major sourceÂ of inspiration for both William De Morganâs Arts and Crafts ceramics and his wife Evelynâs paintings. Medieval galleons manned by sailors on the lookout for giant fish, dolphins and sea monsters form part of William De Morganâs quirky cast of characters.Â Evelynâs paintings of mythological subjects such as Ariadne (looking more stoical than distraught after being abandoned on the island of Naxos by her lover Theseus) or her depictions of Hans Christian Andersonâs much adored little mermaid reinterpret these classic tales for a new audience.
As well as drawing inspiration from the sea, much of De Morganâs work was destined to travel the waves themselves, as commissions for the P&O shipping line. The superlative Galleon tile panel, designed for the P&O shipÂ S.S.MaltaÂ in 1895, will be exhibited alongside key pieces from the De Morgan collection, including a spectacular moonlight lustre punch bowl depicting fanciful fish which represents the pinnacle of De Morganâs technical prowess, and a very rare, early seahorse tile whose production techniques mirror the matt quality of Morris and Co. tiles. Among Evelynâs exhibited works are the nude male figures ofÂ Phosphorous and Hesperus, which, imbued with potent sexual symbolism in the form of phallic torches and conch shells, caused scandal and controversy when first exhibited, and the allegorical âS.O.SâÂ with its symbolic sea monsters representing evil and death.
The De Morgan Centre,Â 38 West Hill,Â London,Â SW18 1RX. Â Â Phone: 020 8871 1144
Stirring the Swarm is a ceramic installation that tells a curiously dark tale inspired by the collection of Entomology in the Natural History collection at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham. The exhibition lures viewers into this macabre story as they find these enchanted insects, gathered in the Castle after their journey from Wollaton Hall.
Anna Collette Huntâs ceramics aim to rekindle a forgotten, childlike sense of curiosity and delight. Scenes from her Wall Dish series of intricately detailed and decorated plates, speak of historic grandeur and past traditions, whilst closer inspection reveals a sometimes sinister undertone. Each piece has a story to tell, tempting the viewerâs imagination to assign personal narrative to the assembly of images, forms and textures within the work. Stirring the Swarm develops this notion further by creating a fictional narrative that viewers can stumble into and follow, tapping in to the imagination of the artist. The exhibition has the atmosphere of a Brothers Grimm-style gothic fairytale, intended to stir imagination and incite curiosity, whilst fleeting and disjointed sounds add to the unease and discomfort of the installation.
A static swarm of 10,000 handmade ceramic insects infest the South Hall stairwell at Nottingham Castle, each one unique and strikingly beautiful. Dry, dingy creatures cling lifelessly to the walls, frozen in the viewerâs sight, alongside more dazzling âspecimensâ that sparkle and shine with rich glazes and lustres.Â Many also have missing limbs or wings to reflect their ancient and delicate condition – or perhaps they mutated during their escape, sprouting extra heads or wings: evolution and magic transforming the swarm into a new lifeform. The rich palette of gold, green, blue, brown and cream pays homage to the flocked wall paper of Wollaton Hall, the pattern of which has even sprouted on some of their wings.
The exhibition is a result of Annaâs preoccupation with historic houses. After reoccurring visits to Wollaton Hall, she was repeatedly drawn to Entomology, particularly to the fragility of the aging beetles within the collection and by the possible stories that could be crafted from them.Â Stirring the Swarm was made in several stages:Â as Hunt created the original models and their moulds, then a team of assistants made and glazed the 10,000 individual elements. Some insects have a trickle of gold lustre, which references the traditional technique of presenting insects in museum collections by pinning each one to a board. This particular aspect has also fallen into the story, where the enchanted beetles bleed gold from their wounds.
Venue: Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery,Â Off Friar Lane,Â Off Maid Marian Way,Â Nottingham.Â NG1 6EL
I recently tried out a ‘Pot-Easel’ and must say I was quite impressed. It is a sturdy quality construction – simple to assemble – made from solid oak and very effective for displaying plates and chargers without damage. It would be equally useful for the private collector or for Gallery and Museum use.
I set out below the makers Press Release which covers a lot of background and detail:
Pot-Easel Â is a unique display stand developed primarily for studio pottery and ceramics. Made from solid oak, the product was invented by Paul Sansom and Freda Wade, who obtained a design registration in 2010 prior to the launch at Earth and Fire in the same year.
This simple design took several months to perfect in terms of display, support, material choice and function. The traditional oak construction compliments the potters work and the unique sliding bridge gives a versatility to allow 3 size settings.Â The central pole ensures a low centre of gravity and excellent support. Since the launch the product has received many good reviews from Potters and collectors alike encouraging the makers to add new lines to the range. Customers have also found many other uses for Pot Easel ranging from supporting menus and books to pictures and icons.
Further developments now include a small size for use on shelves and a large version that takes the wide circumference platters, bowls and heaviest chargers. Two colour variations are available- natural oak and black [burnt oak].
Pot Easel can be purchased at some of the ceramic shows in the UK, galleries or direct from the makers www.poteasel.co.uk .
Â For further information contact Paul Sansom on 07773817513 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Renowned potter Chris Carter and archaeologist Martin Green share their fascination with the prehistoric past of Cranborne Chase.Â Through art and artefact, they reveal a story of the humans that occupied the landscape before history was written.
Out of the EarthÂ explores a dialogue between artist and archaeologist as they respond to the objects excavated from flint-rich soils of Cranborne Chase.Â Artefacts from Martinâs own museum, which displays the finds he has discovered over the years, will be on display alongside Chrisâs artwork and objects from Salisbury Museum and Wiltshire Heritage Museum.Â Together, the objects describe and uncover the imprints left by farming, community and ritual activities in the past.
Chris and Martin describe themselves as âsons of the soilâ, both having been raised on farms in the countrysides of Warwickshire and Dorset.Â They met following a BBC4 radio show âOpen Countryâ which featured Down Farm on Cranborne Chase.Â Martin had been excavating there since he inherited it in 1979 and Chrisâs interest in the Chase landscape soon developed into a passion for exploring it through his art.
The exhibition shows new developments in Chrisâs work and is itself a testimony to the continuing influence of prehistoricÂ people on us today as their artistry, communities andÂ ritual activities are re-discovered through archaeology.Â Chris describes the way he searches for his pots in the clay as akin to the archaeologistâs search for an object in the earth.Â Cranborne Chase has encouraged his art to take new routes which have seen him sculpting from flint and creating 2D collage works.Â A deep-seated influence of the landscape and farming is apparent in his work; his pots suggest the sinuous twist of the plough and the symmetry of the stone axe, whilst the surface textures reflect the processes ofÂ people and nature on the landscape.
Both pot and artefactÂ have a power and contemplative quality that makesÂ Out of the EarthÂ an exhibition not to be missed.Â Here, the passion for the Cranborne landscape and for the people who lived on and moulded it, is deep-seated, inherent and heartfelt.Â The stories revealed are told by two people who know the landscape intimately, both inside and out, and can tell those stories with an authority and understanding that cannot be disputed.
At: salisbury Museum, The King’s House, 65, The Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EN