Loving cup

Maker: The Stoke potters
Loving Cup, 1967
Start-rite box on loan to museum
Stoneware, 10cm
Museum no: C. 176

Late in July 1967, a couple of Stoke potters moonlighted from the Wedgwood factory to make a commemorative loving cup. They had produced thousands of cups celebrating royal couplings, but neither had made anything quite like this. No object they had ever crafted before allowed them to honour their secret love for one another, until now.

On 27th July 1967, the Sexual Offences Act was passed, decriminalising homosexual acts, in private, between men of twenty-one and over. The potters would have been about this age when they met, back in the spring of 1945. Thrust together, amidst cheering throng on V-E Day, each in his respective uniform, it was love at first sight. To the outside world, they had spent a lifetime together as merely ‘bachelor flatmates’.

At first glance, like the potters’ relationship, the cup appears traditional. However, on further inspection, their personal and deeply poignant story is brought into relief. The quotation on the base is taken directly from the text of the Sexual Offences Act.

From the Act - ‘A homosexual act in private shall not be an offence’- and the sprigging on the reverse is the male-male sign, popularised during the swinging sixties as a symbol of gay love between men.

Bequeathed by Brenda More (niece of Malcolm More, one of the potters)

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