Title / object name
|Maker ||Role ||Date |
|Wurttembergische Metallwarenfabrik ||manufacturer(s) ||circa 1905 |
Pressed silver-plated britannia metal body with moulded glass linerMaterials
britannia metal, plated metal, glass
|Overall ||140 (Height) x 329 (Width) x 171 (Depth) mm|
pressing, plating, molding
Walter C Cook Decorative Art Collection, Gift of Walter Cook, 1992
This flower dish or centrepiece is an excellent example of the exuberant Jugendstil, or German Art Nouveau style. Art Nouveau was an internationally popular flamboyant decorative style. It is defined by the organic treatment of decorative motifs, the latter mostly derived from nature. Art Nouveau designers stylized the sinuous curves found in nature, explored lush growth and movement and pushed asymmetry to extremes.
While it looks very organic and possibly even hand made, this flower dish was machine made in the Wurttembergische Metallwarenfabrik (known as WMF) factory in Goppingen or Geislingen in Germany. Depending on whether it was manufactured before or after 1905, it was made by die-stamping the metal with either a heavy blow or by extreme pressure from a hydraulic machine.
Before WMF acquired its powerful hydraulic Huber Press in 1905, it stamped its metal by placing it between a die (a type of mould incorporating the design) and a counter, with pressure applied by a blow. This type of stamping could only be applied to flat metal, while the Huber Press was able to emboss patterns in relief on cylindrical and curved metal shapes. This saved time, labour and material and enabled complex and flamboyant designs to be produced more cheaply than previously.
This flower dish is from the Walter C Cook Collection of Decorative Arts. Over a twenty-five year period, Wellington collector Walter Cook developed a significant collection of British and European decorative arts. In 1993 he gave his collection to the National Museum, now known as Te Papa.