V&A Shops are delighted to announce a unique collaboration with renowned ceramicist and writer Edmund de Waal. On the White Road is a limited-edition series of four fine bone china plates designed by Edmund and created exclusively in collaboration with the V&A and Wedgwood. Each plate is inspired by a different object in the V&A and the V&A Wedgwood Collection, reflecting the breadth of the museum’s vast collection and its relationship with the iconic Wedgwood.
Each of the works chosen by Edmund to inform his designs mark a key moment in the history of porcelain. On the White Road to: Jingdezhen pays tribute to a Wan Li porcelain ewer painted in underglaze cobalt blue from Jingdezhen, dating from 1573 – 1610. Edmund’s design holds explorer Marco Polo’s description of encountering Jingdezhen, China’s ‘City of Porcelain’, on his travels.
On the White Road to: Meissen is influenced by a highly decorative cup and cover made from hard-paste Böttger porcelain for the Meissen porcelain factory in the 18th century.
Josiah Wedgwood’s First Day’s vase inspired the design for On the White Road to: Etruria. Held in the V&A Wedgwood Collection, this vase is one of only six thrown by Wedgwood in 1769. It was made to mark the opening of the Etruria factory. Finally, On the White Road to: Plymouth, takes its design inspiration from one of William Cookworthy’s first ever mugs. The piece was produced at Plymouth Porcelain Factory in about 1770. Edmund’s design includes Cookworthy’s notes about walking in Cornwall in search of clay.
The edition has been expertly produced by Wedgwood in Stoke-on-Trent, with only 150 made. On the reverse of each plate is Edmund’s printed signature alongside a gold emblem depicting the object that inspired the design. These beautifully finished decorative plates come packaged in a bespoke V&A and V&A Wedgwood gift box. Each set is accompanied by a signed and numbered certificate of authenticity featuring original text written by Edmund and further information on each of the referenced objects from the V&A and V&A Wedgwood Collection.
Join Edmund in conversation with V&A Director Tristram Hunt at the V&A on 26 September. for a unique look at ceramics, inspiration, and the power of the object.
Edmund de Waal is a British writer and artist known for his fascination with the history and potential of ceramics. Practising as a ceramicist since childhood, de Waal has exhibited major installations at V&A, Tate Britain, the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Kunsthistoriches Museum among many others, often creating works that respond to the collections, archives and history of a physical place. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2021 in recognition of his contribution to literature. His bestselling family memoir The Hare with the Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance traces the journey of a collection of 264 miniature Japanese netsuke sculptures that were hidden in a mattress to avoid confiscation by the Nazis in Vienna during the second world war, and subsequently handed down through five generations of de Waal’s family. This bestselling family memoir was followed by various publications relating to the world of ceramics, including The White Road, which follows de Waal’s investigation into the history of porcelain.