Cash boost for rare Raven Mason Collection
THE legacy of an historic Staffordshire porcelain collection looks set to be secured – thanks to a £7,000 lottery grant.
Keele University received the cash as it bids to boost the profile of the renowned Raven Mason Collection.
The rare collection – created by Ronald William and John Mason Raven – is housed in Keele Hall on the university campus.
It contains many important pieces outlining the development of Longton-based Mason ceramics, and features more than 120 pieces of Miles Mason tableware – including a wide variety of decorating techniques and design styles. The Heritage Lottery Project handed over the money as the university plans to celebrate the history of ironstone ceramics, between 1798-1813.
Kerry Jones, arts officer at the university, is trying to make the public more aware of what she described as a 'unique piece of history, right on our very doorsteps'.
She said: "It is quite a small collection but it does have a good following. I really want to increase awareness and the funding will really help.
"The collection is quite valuable. Groups can book a tour with a guide, who will explain the history of the pieces and the family. We are trying to get it into the public imagination.
"We want to go into the community to find people with memories and stories of the factory, or collectors to talk about their passion for particular pieces.
"The project aims to find out what it was like working in the factory, how the ceramics were made and peoples experiences of the collection."
The Mason family achieved international fame for themselves and the Potteries with their Patent Ironstone China, which was famous for its oriental style of decoration. Alan White, trustee of the collection, said: "We hope to raise the profile of the collection and bring forward more interest in the Mason manufactory and its wares."
The original company was founded by Miles Mason in 1796 and later developed by his sons.
The collection was assembled by members of the Raven family and presented to the university in 1993.
Thirty-seven-year-old international relations student, Nazariah Osman, said: "I was not aware of the collection but now I know it is there I will definitely go and see it. I would like to see the art work and pottery."
Administrator of Life Sciences, Debbie Goodhall, aged 46, said: "I took my father along to see the collection with me. It has some beautiful pieces."
Kerry Jones added: "We do get small groups of students and lecturers who live on campus but I think that many are not aware of the collection."
The collection is full of a variety of colourful, delicate tableware, from egg cups to coffee pots to slop bowls.
The exhibition is available to view by appointment. Visit www.keele.ac.uk/ravenmason or ring 01782 734908.