Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Westtown Plates

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Westtown School, founded in 1799,  is a Quaker coeducational boarding school located 25 miles west of Philadelphia. Westtown plates, made by the Josiah Wedgewood and Sons Pottery Co. of England, were sold by Westtown School's Alumni Association beginning in 1935. The plates were designed by George G. Whitney, Westtown's Director of Fine Arts from 1920 - 1956. The first editions were available in four colors(rose, green, mulberry, and blue) in twelve scenes of the school campus. The 7th edition in 1956 was only offered in blue and the 1976 8th edition reduced the number of scenes to six. The 10th and last edition was made in 1990.

This set of twelve plates is from the 7th edition. I have never seen the green or mulberry colored plates but am told they are on display in the Westtown School dining room.

A side note: the Wedgewood company story is coming to a sad ending. Founded in 1759 and family owned for much of its lifespan, it struggled, merged with Waterford Crystal in 1987, and then was bought by an American firm, KPS Capital in 2009. It has now filed for bankruptcy. In a worst case scenario it is possible that the Wedgewood Museum artifacts, considered by many to be a very significant historical collection, will be sold to cover the firm's £134m pension debt.

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