In 1774 Josiah Wedgwood wrote to Thomas Bentley, a business partner at Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, proposing the creation of a collection that would save the company’s works for posterity.

The resulting collection was unique in its scope and depth, using ceramics, manuscripts, fine art, manufacturing equipment and more to tell the story of Britain’s greatest porcelain manufacturer and the family that founded it. Today the collection is formed of more than 8,000 historical pieces, as well as 80,000 manuscripts, pattern books, works of art and photographs chronicling 250 years of Wedgwood pottery and the developments in taste, politics, society, science and art that shaped it. The ceramics in the collection range from Josiah’s early experiments in jasper through to modern pieces. Highlights include Josiah Wedgwood’s own first edition of the iconic jasper Portland Vase, and five plates from the ‘Green Frog Service’, a magnificent dinner set commissioned by Catherine the Great in 1773 for her palace at Kekerekeksinen. As well as pottery and personalia, the collection includes a number of fine works by artists with connections to Wedgwood, from John Flaxman to Peter Blake. Portraits of the Wedgwood family by George Stubbs, Joshua Reynolds and John Singer Sargent are among the collection’s most precious works.

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