While the Walker Art Gallery is renowned for its beautiful collection of paintings and sculptures, it also houses a unique collection of British and European decorative art including pieces dating back to 1300. There are around 100,000 items in the Gallery’s collection, including ceramics, glass, metalwork, jewellery, furniture and musical instruments.
Apart from works by major UK and international makers and designers, the collection also features objects commissioned by local patrons, commemorative pieces, and other items designed, made or decorated in and around Liverpool.
Highlights include a collection of 10,000 British and European ceramics, featuring medieval pieces and a comprehensive collection of Liverpool-made ceramics from the period 1700-1850. 18th century wine glasses and stained glass windows dating from the medieval period are represented in the vessel glass collection, while the metalwork collection comprises around 1,300 precious metal, silver and gold objects, including a collection of silver items crafted by Liverpool silversmiths.
The jewellery collection features a large number of finger rings, some dating back 700 years, as well as a growing assortment of modern jewellery dating from the 1980s to the present. Items of furniture by acclaimed Liverpool-based designers and makers such as George Bullock and Herbert Macnair are among the roughly 300 pieces displayed in the Walker Art Gallery and Sudley House. The textile collection, meanwhile, numbers around 10,000 items, including embroideries, lace, woolwork, quilts and household furnishings.
This brief overview gives an idea of the vast range of unique, quirky and special objects on display in the Walker Art Gallery’s decorative art collection. Beauty and functionality are the essence of decorative art, and the Walker’s stunning collection, now open to the public once again, offers an excellent introduction to this important and historical art form.