LONDON — The Victoria & Albert museum is adding a dash of Karl Lagerfeld panache to its Wedgwood Collection with the purchase of a rare, Art Deco tea and coffee set that was previously owned by the designer.
The Campanula tea and coffee set was designed by Paul Follot for Wedgwood and acquired from the estate of the designer, a knowledgeable and voracious collector, who died in 2019.
The museum, which also purchased the accompanying set of Follot’s design drawings, said no other examples of the pattern, or even the shape, are known to exist.
Catrin Jones, chief curator of V&A Wedgwood Collection, described the Art Deco set as “glamourous” and a “rare and unusual” example of Follot’s designs for Wedgwood.
Jones said the set reflects the tastes of Lagerfeld, “who was known for his love of monochrome, as well as his interest in ceramics.” The set, she said, was probably used by the designer, as it shows some signs of wear.
She added that the pieces and the design drawings, “fill an important gap in the V&A Wedgwood Collection and are a wonderful example of the Wedgwood company’s tradition of working with innovative artists to create their designs and of inspiring tastemakers” such as Lagerfeld.
Follot, who died in 1941, was a French designer of luxury furniture and decorative art objects. After World War I he became a director of the Pomona Studios for the Paris department store Le Bon Marché.
He began working with Wedgwood around 1911. The museum said many of his designs were very labor-intensive for Wedgwood to produce, so were only made in small quantities and are now “very rare.”
The V&A added that the Campanula set and design drawings represent “a very significant contribution to the V&A Wedgwood Collection, as only a very small number of Wedgwood products were made in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles.”
The Campanula design has a scrolling handle and an elaborate, long-fluted finial with a fleur-de-lis at the top. The hand-painted decoration has black enamel stripes highlighted with a gilded stripe motif. The base is gilded with a scroll pattern.
Lagerfeld was a major fan of the decorative arts, especially those produced during the 18th century and the Art Deco period. He also had a penchant for 20th century advertising imagery.
The museum said the set was purchased with the support of the V&A Americas Foundation, the A. Alfred Taubman Foundation, The Friends of the National Libraries, The Decorative Arts Society 40th Anniversary Fund and Simon Wedgwood.