Wedgwood
This is one of only four vases known to have been made by Josiah Wedgwood on the opening day of his Staffordshire factory. A temporary export bar has been issued to attempt to keep it in the UK.

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Culture Minister Matt Hancock placed the temporary bar on the black basaltes encaustic-decorated First Day’s vase after it was sold at Christie’s Exceptional Sale in London in July.

The vase, which sold for a premium-inclusive £482,500, is one of only four vases known to have been made by Josiah Wedgwood on the opening day of his factory in Staffordshire.

Following the Christie’s auction the new owner applied for an export licence. The application was reviewed by the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), which is administered by The Arts Council, and it decided to issue a temporary bar in the hope of finding a UK buyer.

Hancock said: “This beautiful vase has an extraordinary history. It was created by the hand of one of the most influential potters of all time, on the day his world famous factory opened.”

"Outstanding aesthetic importance"

The RCEWA made its recommendation on the grounds of the “vase’s close connection with our history and national life and its outstanding aesthetic importance”.

Wedgwood treasured the First Day’s vases he made when his new factory Etruria opened in June 1769 and said that they should not be sold.

The decision on the export licence application for the vase will be deferred until March 14 and it can be extended until July if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase it is made.

The sum needed is £482,500 plus VAT of £16,500.

Two of the other First Day’s vases are owned by the Victoria & Albert Museum and displayed in the Wedgwood Museum in Staffordshire. The third vase is on a long-term loan to the British Museum.