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Topic: The Walter C. Cook Collection

Is part of topic Featured Gifts and Bequests

Over a twenty-five-year period, Wellingtonian Walter Cook built up an extensive collection of British and European decorative arts. Most of the pieces (over two hundred in all) were purchased locally.

The Walter C. Cook Collection of Decorative Arts is a significant gift to Te Papa.  Intended by the donor to enhance European social and cultural history at the museum, it adds depth to Te Papa’s holdings of international decorative arts.

The collection covers the period from 1870 to 1970, and represents a wide diversity of styles, materials, and techniques reflecting changing fashions. Most of the items are ceramics of British origin, examples of the Art Nouveau style imported into New Zealand between about 1895 and the late 1920s. These were associated with the London store Liberty & Co., which bought work from firms making mass-produced but high-quality ceramics and other wares–makers who followed the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts movement.


 

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