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Wedgwood Plates? Well, not quite…

December 12, 2012

Annalie, the Museum’s Education Officer manages to think up very intriguing and attractive activities for visitors to the museum and their children to take part in during school holidays. We have already seen that the chance to write with a quill pen was very popular earlier this year

During the Autumn Half-Term Holiday she organised another activity that has proven to be very popular: creating decorated paper plates inspired by the china that Jane Austen knew, some of which is on show at the Museum. The activity took place in the Kitchen:

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She provided the visitors (of all ages!) with some photographs of an early 19th century Willow Pattern plate;

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A photograph of some of  the Wedgwood China that was made for Jane Austen’s brother, Edward Knight;

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We then went to Wedgwoods where my Brother and Fanny chose a Dinner Set. The pattern is a small Lozenge in purple, between lines of narrow Gold; & it is to have the (Knight) crest…

[Letter to Cassandra Austen, 16th September 1813]

And some  Wedgwood “foliage” china which is currently  very kindly on loan to the Museum. This china did not actually belong to the Austens but is from the same period, so it is very likely that the china Jane Austen writes about in her letter to Cassandra of 1811 (see below) was very similar in design.

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On Monday I had the pleasure of receiving, unpacking and approving our Wedgwood ware. It all came very safely and upon the whole is a good match, tho’ I think they might have  allowed us rather larger leaves, especially in such a year of fine foliage as this…

[Letter to Cassandra Austen, 6th June 1811]

The visitors then were invited to decorate a plain, white paper plate, inspired by these images and by their visit to the Museum. Here is one of the plates, and  more examples can be seen in the gallery at the end of this post:

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The results are now on display, very appropriately, in the kitchen and you will be able to see them on your next visit.

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As it has been so successful, the activity is still on offer for a limited amount of time.

One Comment leave one →
  1. cathyallen permalink
    December 12, 2012 11:40 pm

    What a brilliant idea! Your Education Officer, Annalie, has some very clever ideas, and they make me wish I could visit and participate. Well done, Annalie!

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