An exquisite Victorian porcelain vase is back where it belongs following a successful £50,000 #fundraising bid launched by Shropshire's Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. The Northumberland Vase is believed to be one of the largest pieces of porcelain made by The Coalport China Company at Ironbridge. For the last 30 years it had been on loan to the Coalport China Museum – one of ten museums at Ironbridge.

Other antiques could also have been lost

However, the vase along with five other significant pieces of Caughley and Coalport china were in danger of being lost forever when the owner decided to sell them at auction. The precious items were considered to be of great local and international interest and it was feared that if sold off they could disappear from public view forever. However, determined not to lose this important part of Shropshire's history, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust launched a fundraising appeal in August 2016 to raise the money to buy them back and return these beautiful works of art to the museum where they could continue to inspire #Youngsters for generations to come.

Financial support from individuals and organisations

Within four months, with support from the local community, various charities and foundations, they reached their target and managed to buy all six items back. #Fundraising manager at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, Nicole Hermanns was delighted and grateful to everyone who had made the acquisition of these items possible. She said that while they had many ornamental pieces of Coalport porcelain, nothing compared to the quality, size and opulence of the Northumberland Vase. She added: “The acquisition of this piece has greatly enhanced our nationally Designated collections.”

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Ironbridge Gorge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was at the heart of the Industrial Revolution. In the 19th century the Coalport China Company was renowned for producing some of the finest porcelain in Britain. The Northumberland vase was created to show off that superior quality and was exhibited at the 1862 International Exhibition in #London where it was awarded a bronze medal. It was then bought by Lord Percy the Duke of Northumberland, and kept at Alnwick Castle.

A happy reunion

The other items which the museum has successfully bought back are two beautifully decorated 18th century Caughley bowls made at the Caughley China Factory at Broseley; a Coalport China 'Loving Cup'; and two Coalport plaques decorated by one of Coalport's most acclaimed artists, John Randall. All are now safely back home at the Coalport China Museum where they originated. #Youngsters ##Art