Collection and Exhibitions

Object of the Month

Bretby Novelty Pottery Model

We have recently undergone a collection review so over the next 6 months you may be seeing some quirky and unusual items in this cabinet as we search through the collections and find rare and interesting objects.

This is a Bretby Novelty Pottery Model of an Early 20th century motor car. The car came in purple, blue, gold but this one has a bright yellow glaze with gilt highlights. It is approximately 165mm long and 145mm tall. Bretby Art Pottery were based in Woodville and won medals at international exhibitions, promoting demand for their products around the world, but they did in fact start in a small village near Middlesbrough by Christopher Dresser in 1879 on the site of the old Sun brickworks. He used local clay and provided work for the unemployed in the area. He teamed up with Henry Tooth (1842-1918), as manager, who was a flamboyant artist and was responsible for the unusual innovative glazes and effects. The factory in Woodville was closed in 1996.

Bamford’s Derby fine art auctioneers were commissioned to sell a collection of almost 2000 Bretby pieces which was acquired by The Magic Attic Archives, which is run by a group of enthusiasts who are keen to preserve local history. The money raised from the sale of the items was shared with Sharpe’s Heritage and Arts Trust and many items from that collection were also donated to the museum; this is one of those items donated.

Temporary Exhibitions

The Museum hosts a variety of Temporary Exhibitions throughout the year in the Lower Gallery and the Kiln. There are also regularly changing displays of artwork by ‘Featured Artists’ in Cafe Espresso every month; items displayed in Cafe Espresso are available to purchase, please enquire at the Museum for further details.

Featured Artists in the Museum Cafe – May 2019

This month’s art display has been installed by Colin Brooks. Colin had not picked up a paint brush since leaving school in the 1960s but re-discovered his painting skills when he retired eight years ago. Colin works mainly with acrylics and has now taken his first foray into miniature painting. The exhibition features original artwork. Artworks and complementary greeting cards priced at  £1.00 each are on display and available to purchase so please enquire at the museum reception desk for further information. Cafe Espresso is open Monday – Saturday; 10am to 4pm, with last orders at 3:30pm.

A Toilet Story

Lottery FundedOur award winning Heritage Lottery Funded Exhibition ‘A Toilet Story’. This Exhibition tells the little known story of South Derbyshire’s importance in the international development of public health during the 19th and 20th centuries. This exhibition delves deeper into South Derbyshire’s production of sanitary ware, toilets and sewage pipes, which were sold worldwide and are still in situ today. This all comes to life in an exciting interactive exhibition.

The National Forest Gallery

The Museum joined forces with The National Forest, to create this interactive ‘hands on’ exhibition, telling the story of the local ‘Swad’ landscapes, damaged by the coal and clay industries and their more recent transformation into green open spaces, with increasing numbers of newly planted trees forming part of The National Forest.

South Derbyshire Potteries Gallery

The South Derbyshire Potteries Gallery includes a scale model of the Sharpe’s when it was a working pottery alongside many exhibits of domestic and decorative pieces produced by local potteries; these include Bretby Art Pottery, T.G. Green and  Moira Pottery.

Collections Development Policy (front page for website)If you are interested in learning more about our Collections Development Policy, then please click here to find out more. 



Sharpe’s Pottery Heritage and Arts Trust.

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