A celebration of ceramics with Staffordshire University and specialists

“Before the sale, we wanted to give people a chance to learn more about the Thornhill Collection – which includes items which are dated to be over 3,000 years old."

Rosy Crehan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor

Staffordshire University is opening the doors of its Science Centre this Saturday for a celebration of ceramics, ancient and modern.

The free event, 'A Potted History: Celebrating Ceramics with the Specialists', is an opportunity for members of the public to dip in to a series of short talks, get their ceramic treasures valued by experts who have featured on the Antiques Roadshow and have a go at making a pot.

It is also the opportunity to find out more about the University's Stem Cup which is due to be sold during Asia Week Hong Kong at the end of May. The high value Stem Cup is part of the Thornhill Collection of oriental ceramics which was bequeathed to North Staffordshire Technical College in 1944 by London chemist Ernest Thornhill. Money raised from the sale will be used to build a permanent home on the Stoke-on-Trent campus to house the remainder of the 270 piece collection.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Rosy Crehan said: “Before the sale, we wanted to give people a chance to learn more about the Thornhill Collection – which includes items which are dated to be over 3,000 years old.

“It is clear from the bequest that Ernest Thornhill intended his collection to be used as a study resource. However the value of the entire collection has increased significantly in recent years to the point where the University is not able to house and display it securely. The only reason for selling is so that we can raise the funds to do that.”

Saturday's event has been organised in conjunction with auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull, who have been appointed to sell the Stem Cup.

Rosy said: “We are delighted that Lyon & Turnbull suggested making this an event where people could come and learn from the specialists and get their ceramic items valued. This is also an opportunity to celebrate our own contribution to ceramics and we are delighted to be joined for the event by The Clay Foundation and historian Fred Hughes.”

Lee Young, Head of Lyon & Turnbull's Asian Art department, said: “In my industry, it is a privileged position when one is charged with selling an item of such historical importance, and we have assembled a dedicated team comprised of some of the leading lights in Asian art to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved.”

“I am thrilled to be joined by well-known specialists like Judith Miller, founder of Miller's Antiques, for this event to celebrate ceramics and which encourages the people of the Potteries to learn more about their ceramic treasures.”

Visitors can also view the work of Ceramic Design students, including ceramic design brand FLUX , a range of high end tableware which will be available to purchase.

'A Potted History: Celebrating Ceramics with the Specialists' will take place on Saturday 16 April, 12 noon -4pm, Science Centre, Leek Rd, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DF. Find more information and the full event programme here.


Maria Scrivens
Media Relations Manager
Marketing and Public Relations
L600, Flaxman Building
College Road
t: +44 (0)1782 294375
m: 07766 520339
e: m.c.scrivens@staffs.ac.uk