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Wedgwood Collection comes home to Leith Hill Place

For the first time in over 50 years, a collection of Wedgwood ceramics, formed by the Wedgwood family will be on display at Leith Hill Place from 28 April until 29 October 2017.

Antiques News - Wedgwood Collection comes home to Leith Hill Place

Leith Hill Place, once home to Ralph Wedgwood (1874–1956), and the venue for the Wedgwood exhiibition.

Antiques News - Wedgwood Collection comes home to Leith Hill Place

The collection, which was assembled by Ralph Wedgwood, great–great grandson of Josiah Wedgwood I (1730–1795), contains over 140 pieces of Wedgwood: from tea sets to vases, to beads and jewellery.  The name Wedgwood is synonymous with the distinctive blue colour of jasperware (a fine stoneware) invented in 1771 by the factory’s founder Josiah Wedgwood I.  After countless experiments, the ingenious marketer and skilled Staffordshire potter settled on the popular colour, along with a variety of others green, lilac and black, several of which are included in the exhibition. In addition, there are many examples of his black basalt, creamware and even ‘first period’ bone china, manufactured near Stoke–on–Trent.

Antiques News - Wedgwood Collection comes home to Leith Hill Place

Patricia Ferguson, Adviser on Ceramics to the National Trust said: "This is an exciting moment for ceramic enthusiasts as Ralph Wedgwood was collecting at a time when some of the best examples of Wedgwood ware coming on to the market. It is a fantastic reference collection - so many collections have been sold or dispersed - and especially wonderful that it will be displayed in its original home at Leith Hill Place."

Antiques News - Wedgwood Collection comes home to Leith Hill Place

Well-known composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, cousin to Ralph Wedgwood, inherited the Palladian Leith Hill Place in 1944 and a year later passed it to the National Trust, for the benefit of the nation. The house was then let to Ralph Wedgwood (1874–1956), who made it his family home. In the 1950s, it was open to the public two afternoons a week, so that visitors could view his collection of Wedgwood ceramics, proudly displayed throughout the ground floor. Ralph assembled his collection from family inheritances, auctions and private purchases. Subsequent generations have added their own items to the collection, showing the timelessness of the ceramics and the range of the factory.

Antiques News - Wedgwood Collection comes home to Leith Hill Place

Natalie Savage, Visitor Operations Manager for the National Trust at Leith Hill Place said, “There is a sense of achievement in bringing this historic collection back to its original setting. The display has been created in memory of the late Sir Martin Wedgwood and we are hugely grateful to the Wedgwood family for their support. Many of our volunteers at the house have been involved in researching, designing, interpreting and displaying the ceramics. Leith Hill Place is a Grade II* listed building and having the collection here brings the house to life.”

Antiques News - Wedgwood Collection comes home to Leith Hill Place

Natalie continued, “One of the more exciting finds when researching for the exhibition was an inventory from 1955 of the items at Leith Hill Place, which listed not only a description of each item, but also its location in the house. Where possible we have restored items to their original positions.” 

For more information about the exhibition, visit the National Trust's Leith Hill Place.

 

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