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Commemorative plaque - Coronation Edward VIII (which did not take place) - 1937

A plaque to celebrate the coronation that never was, ©  Wedgwood Museum
    A plaque to celebrate the coronation that never was
    © Wedgwood Museum

In the twentieth century commemoratives formed a good part of factory business. Then - as now - royal events proved popular with loyal subjects and collectors. In anticipation of the coronation of Edward VIII in 1937 the Etruria factory made a comprehensive range of wares to celebrate the event, including this large plaque in blue-printed Queen’s ware designed by Keith Murray. When Edward abdicated these plaques were reduced for a quick sale!

In the twentieth century royal commemoratives and memorabilia were all the rage, and the anticipated coronation of Edward VIII had raised considerable interest. The Etruria factory had planned a wide range of commemoratives - some of which were especially designed by the architect-cum-ceramic and glass designer, Keith Murray. This blue-printed Queen’s ware plaque or platter with a head and shoulders study of the future king in the centre, enhanced by a selection of armorial devices, was one eye-catching commemorative produced for 1937. Although the coronation did not take place when Edward abdicated due to the Mrs Simpson scandal the factory had already released all the commemoratives for sale to an expectant market. With the abdication the ware was not withdrawn from sale but simply significantly reduced in price. The design itself was immediately adapted for use as a commemorative for the coronation of George VI in 1937 - featuring a double portrait of both the future king and queen.

  • Type of object: Plaques and medallions/plaque
  • Year produced: 1937
  • Body: Queen's ware, cream-coloured earthenware
  • Glaze: clear glaze
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: under-glaze blue-painted and printed
  • Accession number: TMP2
  • Dimensions: 10 ins

Related people

  • HM King Edward VIII Subject

    HM King Edward VIII - Subject (1894 - 1972)

    Edward VIII (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David; later The Duke of Windsor) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India from 20th January 1936 until his abdication on 11th December 1936. He was the eldest child of the Prince of Wales (later to become King George V) and Mary of Teck (to become Queen Mary). He ascended the throne after his father's death but was never crowned King because of his abdication. He was in love with the American divorceé Wallis Simpson and wanted to marry her. The Church of England opposed remarriage after a divorce and so Edward, who was as King the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, decided to abdicate. Other reasons for this decision were that a marriage to Mrs. Simpson as King would have caused the the government to resign followed by a constitutional crisis and that the people was likely to never accept her as Queen. He was created the Duke of Windsor in 1936 and readmitted to the highest degrees of the various British Orders of Knighthood. Edward married Mrs. Simpson, who had, by this time, already changed her name by deed poll to Wallis Warfield, in a private ceremony on 3rd June 1937 in France. The new King, George VI, forbade members of the Royal Family to attend the ceremony. Edward died of throat cancer at the age of 77.

Glossary

  • Queen’s ware

    Queen’s ware

    In 1765 Wedgwood provided a tea and coffee service to Her Majesty Queen Charlotte (wife of George III) in the new earthenware body he had recently perfected. She was so pleased with the set that she not only allowed Josiah to style himself ‘Potter to Her Majesty’, she also allowed him to call his new earthenware ‘Queen’s ware’ - a name by which Wedgwood’s cream coloured earthenware is still known today.