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Object: Flower dish

This image is Creative Commons BY-NC-ND Creative Commons BY-NC-ND copyright licence.

Title Flower dish
Production Wurttembergische Metallwarenfabrik (manufacturer(s)), circa 1905, Germany
Medium summary Pressed silver-plated britannia metal body with moulded glass liner
Materials britannia metal, plated metal, glass
Classification vases, dishes
Technique pressing, plating, molding
Dimensions Overall: 140mm (Height) x 329mm (Width) x 171mm (Depth)
Credit line Walter C Cook Decorative Art Collection, Gift of Walter Cook, 1992
Registration number GH004254

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.

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Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.