Ironbridge Gorge Museum at risk of loosing China collection
10th August 2016
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Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in Shropshire is at risk of losing several pieces of Caughley and Coalport china that are of both local and international importance. The items are currently on loan to Coalport China Museum, one of the ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums, as part of the stunning Pilkington Collection. They have been housed at the museum for over 30 years and are now being sold at auction by the owner.

The Museum is launching a fundraising campaign to raise nearly £12,000 to secure five pieces for its collection ahead of the auction. These items include two beautiful Caughley bowls decorated with images of the Iron Bridge, one of which, a square salad bowl, is extremely rare.  Caughley china was produced in Broseley from around 1775 to 1799 and the factory was renowned for making some of the finest soft-paste porcelain in England.

In addition, a Coalport ‘Loving Cup’, decorated with images of the Forest Glen and Buildwas Abbey along with two Coalport plaques exquisitely painted by John Randall, one of Shropshire’s most famous ceramic artists, are also on the Museum’s wish-list.  The Coalport China Company was one of the finest producers of porcelain in Britain during the 19th century.

The Museum is also raising funds to buy the opulent Northumberland Vase, which will be the star of the auction in November.  Also made by the Coalport China Company, this porcelain vase is believed to be one of the largest pieces of Coalport China ever made and is adorned with elaborate handles, gilt scrolling and beautiful panels. It was painted by two of the best ceramic artists, not only at Coalport, but at any china works in Britain. Created as an exhibition piece to advertise the superior quality of the company’s ornamental china, it was showcased at the 1862 International Exhibition in London, where it won a bronze medal. The vase was subsequently purchased by Lord Percy, the Duke of Northumberland and housed at Alnwick Castle.  The Museum needs to raise £50,000 in the hopes of securing the vase at auction. All donations for the Northumberland Vase will take the form of pledges and will only be called in if the Museum is successful in obtaining the vase.

It is feared that if the Museum is unable to secure the funds to buy these pieces they could disappear from public view forever.  The Trust is hoping that with the help of the local community, they can raise the funds needed to save these treasures and they can continue to be displayed in the region where they were made and inspire future generations.

Donations are now being taken to help keep these pieces at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum - visit to contribute today.

To donate by cheque, or for more information about the Museum’s fundraising work, contact the Fundraising Team at 01952 435 900

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