The manufacture of domestic pottery in Scotland was an important industry producing vast quantities of wares for both the home and export markets. The industry reached its height in the nineteenth century, the era that saw the inception of international exhibitions and the establishment of industrial museums. Over recent decades Scottish pottery has been collected by both museums and individual collectors and research in the field of material culture has uncovered the history of this significant industry. This paper will examine nineteenth-century attitudes to contemporary collecting of Scottish pottery, focusing on two of the institutions which eventually came to be absorbed into National Museums Scotland – the Industrial Museum of Scotland and its successor the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art. Looking at the relationship between pottery manufacturers and these institutions will show how nineteenth-century perceptions of Scottish pottery were influenced by ideas of identity, art and education.
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