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Commemorative plaque - Coronation King Edward VIII (which did not take place) - 1936

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

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 King 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 King 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 With the abdication the ware was not withdrawn from sale but simply significantly reduced in price.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 King George VI in 1937 - featuring a double portrait of both the future king and queen.

  • Type of object: Plaques and medallions/plaque
    [crown device]
    Keith Murray [signature]
    [printed in black]
  • Year produced: 1936
  • Body: Queen's ware, cream-coloured earthenware
  • Glaze: clear glaze
  • Material: ceramic
  • Decoration: under-glaze blue-painted and printed
  • Accession number: 5532
  • Dimensions: 10" (diameter)

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Related people

  • HM King Edward VIII

    HM King Edward VIII (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.

  • Keith Murray Designer

    Keith Murray - Designer (1892 - 1981)

    Born in New Zealand, Murray later graduated from the Architecture Association School of Art in London in 1921. Unable to find architectural employment, he turned his attention instead to the design of silver, ceramics and glass.Keith Murray is one of the stars of Wedgwood’s 20th-century design story. First employed on a free lance basis in 1932, three years later, he had designed a number of surface patterns and an enormous range of tableware and ornamental shapes - many of which would remain in production until well into the 1950s. The establishment of Murray’s style signalled the beginning of Modernism and a design renaissance for Wedgwood. Only a few years previously in 1930, the next generation of Wedgwoods had taken the helm with with many new notions of how the business should succeed. Most significantly, the decision had been taken to relocate the entire factory from Etruria to a new green-field site at Barlaston. Keith Murray and his partner, CS White, were invited to be the architects for the challenge. In preparation, Murray and Works Manager, Norman Wilson (also responsible for the glazes which enhanced the modernistic appearance of his work) journeyed around America casting a critical eye over the most up-to-date manufacturing plants. When Murray admired spacial features, Wilson demanded to know what manufacturing equipment would economically fit the space. Finally, the building was complete – ultra-modern, all-electric, concrete-clad and with all the facilities required for a healthy working life in the pottery industry. Murray and Josiah V had developed such a close relationship that each became godfather to the other’s child and Murray was almost accepted as an honorary Wedgwood.The experience taught Murray much about the social obligations of architecture. In the late 1940s, in collaboration with various others, he went on to specialise in the construction of airport, commercial and industrial architecture.


  • 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.

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