The Art Fund gives smashing archive to Worcester Porcelain Museum

  • 26 February 2008

Elaborate china made for sultans and kings, mass produced commemorative mugs, fine tea sets made for retiring business men and smart dinner services adorned with family crests are just some of the unique drawings and designs in a Royal Worcester Porcelain Factory archive that has been purchased by The Art Fund for just over £55,000.

The Art Fund, has presented the archive to the Worcester Porcelain Museum to mark the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS).

Containing Royal Worcester Porcelain Factory pattern books, drawings and loose illustrations of patterns and animal designs, the gift completes the transfer of records from the Worcester Royal Porcelain Factory to the Worcester Porcelain Museum, and will join a much larger collection of manuscripts, photographs and designs created during the company’s 256 year history.

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund said: “This fascinating and beautiful collection is a key part of the history of the British ceramics industry. It includes an astonishing wealth of designs that reflect every major influence from Chinoiserie through to Art Deco, most of which relate directly to pieces in the museum ceramics collection. I am especially delighted that The Art Fund could present this archive in recognition of the extraordinary achievements of NADFAS, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary.”

Sam Driver White, Worcester Porcelain Museum Chairman said: “The pattern books within this acquisition are undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of our collection. Every design was meticulously drawn by hand and included information on decorating techniques, colours and objects available in each pattern. These wonderful books chart changes in fashion and culinary etiquette as well as technical advances in ceramic manufacture. We are immensely grateful to The Art Fund for their generous award and it is our intention to create a visually stunning display for the enjoyment for all our visitors.”

Susan Sellers, National Chairman of NADFAS said: “We are absolutely thrilled with this acquisition so generously made in the name of NADFAS, in recognition of the support given to the Art Fund by many of our Societies and members over the past 40 years. As a large arts education charity we welcome the Museum’s plans for the archive.”

These records of factory production were produced by and used in the Royal Worcester Design department until 2005. The archive contains: 27 tableware pattern books (1874 – 1999), 5 special order books (1937 – 1994), 300 loose designs for models (1930s – 1960s), 1000 loose tableware designs (1900 – 1930s), an aquatint of the Warmstry factory by Paul Sandby 1778 and a drawing of the Severn Street factory by Alfred Parry 1890.

The archive will go on public display at the Worcester Porcelain Museum later this year.

The acquisition of the archive will also be announced on 28 February 2008 at a lecture given by Christopher Lloyd, Surveyor of The Queen’s Pictures from 1988 to 2005, current NADFAS President and an Art Fund Trustee.

Lecture: The British as Collectors of Impressionist and Post - Impressionist Art

Venue: Parish Hall at St. George's Church, Worcester

Time: 6.30pm for 7pm start. Reception with wine and light refreshments will take place after the lecture

Booking: For more information or to book a ticket, please email or call 020 7225 4800

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Worcester Porcelain Museum