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Ask a Curator: What dream object is missing from your collection?

There are lots of items from the company’s history that we would love to have but the ones I’d like most have been missing for many years.

Some of the most important items in our collection are the personal correspondence between Josiah Wedgwood and his friend and business partner, Thomas Bentley.

From 1762 until Bentley’s death in 1780, the two corresponded frequently on a range of topics. From business to family, current politics and news of friends and acquaintances, the correspondence shed a vast quantity of light on the life and work of Josiah Wedgwood.

We are fortunate enough to have in the collection many of the letters that Wedgwood wrote to Bentley, but the return correspondence from Bentley to Wedgwood has been lost.

From surviving letters from the time, we know that Wedgwood valued these letters from Bentley so much that he had them specially bound so he could refer back to them, but what happened to them after Wedgwood died in 1795 remains a mystery.