Robert Dex

Robert Dex

Art lovers have just a few months to raise millions of pounds to prevent a "tragedy" which would see the historic Wedgwood Collection sold off.

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The collection, which spans more than 250 years of the pottery firm's history, includes more than 80,000 works of art, ceramics and photographs as well as paintings by George Stubbs.

Its future has been in doubt since Waterford Wedgwood Potteries folded in 2009 with a £134 million pension debt which threatened the future of the museum where the collection was kept.

A deal has been done to save it and more than £13m has been raised but it could be sold on the open market unless £2.74m is found by the end of November.

.If the money can be raised, the collection will be gifted to London's Victoria and Albert Museum and then loaned back to the local museum Wedgwood goes back to 1759 when Josiah Wedgwood started work as a potter in Staffordshire.

Tim Reeve, chief operating officer of the Victoria and Albert Museum, said: "Josiah Wedgwood was a true pioneer, transforming British pottery from a minor craft to a major industry through a combination of scientific experimentation, development of new ceramic materials and techniques, excellence in design and a genius for marketing and business."