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Culture minister Matt Hancock placed the temporary bar on the black ‘basaltes’ First Day’s vase (left) after it was sold at Christie’s Exceptional Sale in London in July.

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

Following the auction, the new owner applied for an export licence. The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and objects of cultural interest (RCEWA), which is administered by The Arts Council, 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.”

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 at Etruria opened in June 1769 and said they should not be sold.

The decision on the export licence application 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 and Albert Museum and displayed in the Wedgwood Museum in Staffordshire. The latter museum’s future had been threatened by a pension wrangle, but it has now been saved after an appeal.

The third vase is on a long-term loan to the British Museum.