Delicate Beauty: The Ruby Ashdown Porcelain Collection

Chelsea (c. 1745-1769), London,U.K., Sauce Boat and Stand.

Longton Hall, Turkey Cock, c. 1750-52.

Due to the generosity of local collector Mrs. Ruby Ashdown, the WAG has acquired a major collection of 18th and 19th century British porcelain, the largest and most significant donation to be gifted to the WAG’s Decorative Arts collection in the past 15 years. Resulting from decades of astute and informed collecting, The Ruby Ashdown Collection numbers some 208 works, a showcase of over 30 different British factories and their production. The collection was formed over several decades by Mrs. Ashdown, who found much enjoyment in studying the development of British porcelain and the rewards a successful “find” provided. And indeed, there are many spectacular “finds” within the collection such as the wonderfully modeled Turkey Cock from Longton Hall.

A strength of the donation is undoubtedly the Worcester porcelain. The earliest period is particularly exciting and well-represented. The covered chestnut basket and stand from c. 1770-1785 is a wonderful example. The history of the Worcester-based potteries is quite complex with factories changing ownership over centuries of production, at times being absorbed into each other to form new enterprises. The Ashdown collection allows us to explore this interlaced history by adding over 90 works to this aspect of the collection.

The Ashdown gift also provides first-time representation of several potteries, such as Isleworth, now represented by this charming honey pot dating from 1765-1775. Other works add significant and spectacular examples to the permanent collection of factories already represented.

Delicate Beauty: The Ruby Ashdown Collection explores the many aspects of this magnificent gift. Future Decorative Arts exhibitions will continue to benefit from its acquisition, as the Gallery will enjoy its breadth and quality for the years to come.

Generously supported by The Cumming Ceramic Research Foundation.




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