Wedgwood Museum in Jeopardy

The Art Newspaper is reporting the Wedgwood Museum in England may be in jeopardy. Depending upon how the courts rule, the contents of the museum could be sold to satisfy the pension plan funding of the now bankrupt parent company. According to the article the pension fund is underfunded in the amount of 134 million pounds, or approximately $209 million.  The article estimates the museum collection is worth approximately $23 million and includes 8,000 ceramic and 75,000 manuscripts.

The Wedgwood/Waterford factory was sold to a New York equity firm, KPS Capital Partners, and is currently in operations today.

The Art Newspaper reports

Because of the pensions issue, the Wedgwood Museum Trust was itself put under administration in January, and it is temporarily run by insolvency practitioner Begbies Traynor. The next stage is for the courts to decide whether the museum’s assets could be seized. This is a complex legal matter and is likely to require a detailed hearing to resolve this autumn. In the meantime, the museum remains open to visitors, as normal.

If the courts rule that the pension plan trustees can claim against the museum, then “we would consider launching a public appeal to raise money to buy back the collection, and to request time for this to happen,” said Begbies Traynor executive Bob Young. An application might also be made to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which supported the redisplay of the award-winning museum.

Although the value of the collection is unknown, we understand that it is around £15m. It comprises 8,000 ceramics, 75,000 manuscripts, and paintings including works by Stubbs and Reynolds. These were brought together by the Wedgwood company as a museum in 1906.
Click HERE to read the full article.

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