• Break the seal of the Pharaoh's Tomb and discover the fascinating links between Wedgwood and Egypt.

Wedgwood and Egypt

  • by Alistair Guy

Bone China Ashmun Coffee Pot

Theme

Howard Carters discoveries in the 1920s were still inspiring Wedgwood designers well into the nineteenth century. This bone china coffee pot, made in 1971 was designed by Susie Cooper. It depicts the ‘child king’ Tutankhamun hunting ducks, and on the reverse side Ankhesenamun, his wife. This decoration was directly inspired by the wall paintings in the burial tomb discovered by Carter.  It wasn’t only royalty that was immortalised in this series but also birds, dogs and grasses.

It was no mere coincidence that Susie decided to create a range of Egypt style ware at this period.  In the following year (1972) an exhibition entitled ‘The Treasures of Tutankhamun’ was opened on the 30th March at the British Museum, closing on the 30th of December. The exhibition coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. In total fifty objects were displayed in the exhibition, one for every year since the discovery of the tomb, all on loan from Egypt. The real crowd pleaser was the gold mask from the head of the king’s mummy.  

Over 1,650,000 people visited the exhibition, showing the grip that the wonders of Ancient Egypt still have on people, even today. And from the beginning of Egyptomania brought on by the Napoleonic Wars through to Howard Carter and his fascinating discoveries in the valley of the Kings, Wedgwood has been there to offer the public their own piece of history.

Catalogue

Bone China coffee pot with decoration of Tutankhamun hunting ducks by Susie Cooper, inspired by tomb paintings. On the reverse is decoration of Ankhesenamun, wife of Tutankhamun. The lid featured is a replacement, the original would have had blue decoration around the rim.