POOLE Museum has bought a major new piece of Poole Pottery – and at almost five feet tall it is the largest piece to enter the museum's collection to date.

The jardinière and stand was made by Carter & Co at its pottery at Poole Quay around 1902.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council's museum and arts manager Michael Spender bought the jardinière at auction at Sotheby's, reportedly against strong competition from other collectors.

The piece and stand were both designed by Archibald Knox for the London store, Liberty & Co.

BCP chief executive Graham Farrant said: "It is great that we have been able to plug a gap in Poole Museum’s superb Poole Pottery collection by acquiring what is probably the best piece available in the market.

"With its three important associations of Archibald Knox, Liberty and Carter, this is a new star object in the museum, which I hope residents and visitors will enjoy coming to see."

Knox produced hundreds of designs for objects, particularly silver and pewter wares, to be retailed at Liberty & Co.

His distinctive style inspired by Celtic art made him a household name.

A BCP spokesman said: "This is an outstanding example of a series of Liberty & Co garden wares designed by Knox and made in terracotta by Carter & Co in Poole in the early 1900s.

"Until now Poole Museum has not owned any of these garden wares."

The purchase was funded by donations from museum visitors and from the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.

The new acquisition has gone on display on Poole Museum's third floor.

"The donations from visitors were raised by the Poole Museum Foundation, a charity established to fundraise for Poole museums, including building an acquisition fund for purchases of objects like the jardinière and stand.

"The foundation also has a membership scheme. In return for their support members have access to a range of special events and activities, as well as a newsletter and discounts in the Poole Museum shop."