One fluid and graceful style dominates the Museum’s metalwork collection. Art Nouveau designs and motifs shine through in the many excellent examples from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The two leading groups in the collection are Liberty & Co and Württembergische Metallwarenfabrick (WMF).
The Liberty shop opened to the public in London in 1875 and became a leader in both setting trends and dealing in a wide range of antiques. The owner, Arthur Lasenby Liberty, was a pioneer in the promotion of Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau furniture, pewter, glass and ceramics. Through working directly with English designers, Arthur was key to developing and promoting this new style at home and abroad.
At around the same time in Stuttgart, Germany, the WMF company was becoming and international manufacturer and exporter of Art Nouveau metalwork products. It was Albert Mayer, sculptor and designer, who steered WMF in this direction. The results were some truly exceptional shapes and imagery realised in the expressive and eye-catching form of metal.
Another special group within the metalwork collection are three beautiful bronzes by Gertrude Spencer Stanhope of Cannon Hall. Gertrude was just one of several talented artists in the family, and was the niece of the well-known Pre-Raphaelite painter, John Roddam Spencer Stanhope.