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.

Visiting Card Tray, 1920s


The German company WMF produced decorative pewterware which was really popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their pieces were heavily influenced by the Art Nouveau style with long, flowing lines. An item like this would be placed in the hall and so that visitors could leave a card to say that they had called.

Small silver metal sculpture of a woman standing with a bird in her hands looking down. Behind her, the visiting card tray stretches out in the form of a large leaf.

Visiting card Tray, 1900s


This visiting card tray is clearly influenced by the Art Nouveau style showing a female head with flowing hair. WMF printed a catalogue of their designs which was published in 1906. This enabled people to see the designs and the costs of items just like a modern catalogue.

Octagonal metal plate with the side profile of a woman looking to the right. She wears an ornate headdress and her hair is long and wavy

Jug, 1900s-1910s

Tudric ware for Liberty & Co

The ‘Tudric’ range of pewterware was developed to be sold at Liberty & Co, London. There were many important designers working for Liberty including Archibald Knox. This jug is shaped in the form of an owl and has green stones for eyes as extra decoration.

Small silver pot in the rough shape of an owl, with the base as the body. The head of the owl has two eyes looking forward and the jug tapers to a point where the beak is to pour the liquid in it. There is a silver handle at the back of the jug.

Clock, 1900s

Tudric ware for Liberty & Co

A wide range of pewter items were designed under the ‘Tudric’ brand for Liberty & Co. ‘Tudric’ wares were a combination of Art Nouveau and Celtic styles. A clock like this was small and stylish so could be used on a mantlepiece, desk or bedside table, making it a popular product.

Silver clock in a rough rectangular shape. The face of the clock is at the top, with a blue centre and pink rim. The clock numbers are in black Roman numerals.

Visiting Card Tray, 1900s


This Art Nouveau style tray shows a female figure using grapes to make wine. This tray was electroplated to make it look more like silver than pewter. In the WMF catalogue this was described as an ‘old silver’ or ‘antique’ finish.

Silver tray decorated with a woman on the left filling up a long thin jar with water. The edges of the tray are decorated with silver foliage.

Glove Box, 1910s

Attributed to John Pearson (1859-1910)

John Pearson was a designer of decorative items in the Arts and Crafts style in the late 19th century. This box is very similar to the items he made but is not marked with his initials. A box like this would have been used for keeping gloves or other small items safe.

Wooden rectangular shaped box with the opening on the long side. Decorated with silver metal geometric designs and swirls and one blue gemstone in the top right corner.

Bomb Vase, 1900s

Tudric for Liberty & Co

These bomb-shaped vases were designed by Archibald Knox for the Tudric range of pewterware for Liberty & Co. Knox was a well-known designer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and he liked combining the Art Nouveau and Celtic styles in his work.

Metal silver vase in the shape of a WW2 bomb with two handles at the bottom. The bottom tapers to a point, the top has a circular opening with some silver line decorations just below the rim

Dish, 1900s

Liberty & Co

The sides of this dish are ‘pierced’, which means the metal is cut out. The pattern makes an Art Nouveau style flower shape. The base of the dish has a large, oval area of blue-green enamel. Enamel was added to some of the Tudric pieces to make them more distinctive.

Shallow silver dish with geometric designs and a circular base of deep blue colour

Rose Bowl, 1900s-1910s

Tudric for Liberty & Co

This bowl was used for displaying roses, or other flowers, which would have been very popular at the time. It would originally have had an insert to hold the flowers in place. The design was developed by Archibald Knox when he worked for Liberty in the 1900s but stayed in production for many years.

Silver bowl with a thick rim and two handles which also curve under to form the base. It has roses carved into it around the top.

Cream Jug, 1770s

Maker Unknown

This small, silver jug would have been used for serving cream and is decorated with floral designs. It was most likely made near London because it was assayed there, to confirm its quality. The maker would originally have had their mark on the piece but this has been rubbed away with years of cleaning.

Ornately decorated silver jug with handle to the right and spout to the left. It has a round base and short stem, and ornate decorations of foliage carved into it

Orpheus, 1890s

Gertrude Spencer Stanhope (1857-1944)

Gertrude Spencer Stanhope was the daughter of Sir Walter Spencer Stanhope of Cannon Hall near Barnsley. She was unusual in being a woman sculptor in the Victorian period as this was considered by many to be too technical and physical for women. She was very successful and showed her bronze sculptures at numerous galleries in Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

Silver sculpture of a Greek man sitting on a rock, looking down at his hands as if lost in thought

Kettle, 1880s

Designed by Christopher Dresser for Benham and Froud

This kettle was designed by Christopher Dresser in the late 19th century for Benham and Froud based in London. Dresser was an innovative designer and worked in a wide range of materials. His designs were often angular and minimal and still look very modern today.

Stout copper kettle with a round body and short spout. It has a handle over the top of its lid