Christopher DRESSERHUKIN & HEATH, Wine jug Enlarge 1 /2
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Christopher DRESSER

Glasgow, Scotland, Great Britain 1834 – Mulhouse, France 1904

designer

HUKIN & HEATH

manufacturer (organisation)

Wine jug c.1892 Place made: Birmingham, West Midlands, England
Materials & Technique: metalwork, jugs, silver, glass, ebony

Primary Insc: impressed with hallmarks: JTH/JHM (Heath & Middleton), lion passant (sterling silver), R (for 1892) and leopard's head (London)
Dimensions: 42.0 h x 13.4 w x 10.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1984
Accession No: NGA 84.1081

Dr Christopher Dresser was a Glasgow-born botanist, a writer on the decorative arts and the first acknowledged designer for industry. Following a British government–sponsored visit to Japan in 1876, he became an importer and collector of Japanese art and craft, while promoting his stylistic theories in a number of influential books on design. His designs for metal tableware from 1878 show the influence of Japanese design in their simplicity of form, use of geometric elements and functionality.

These qualities are exemplified by this glass and silver jug, its bamboo-like handle inviting the hand and its clear glass revealing the purity of colour of the liquid it contains. The same designs were produced in plated metals as well as silver, broadening Dresser’s influence across the applied arts market of the late nineteenth century. This was an approach to design that was suitable for the industrial mass-production of such objects well before the modernism
of the twentieth century.

Dresser also designed functional and decorative objects for British manufacturers of ceramics, wallpapers, textiles, ironwork and glass, drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as ancient Egyptian, Celtic and Pre-Columbian art.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008

Dr Christopher Dresser was a Glasgow-born botanist, a writer on the decorative arts and the first acknowledged designer for industry. Following a British government-sponsored visit to Japan in 1876, he became an importer and collector of Japanese art and craft, while promoting his stylistic theories in a number of influential books on design. His designs for metal tableware from 1878 show the influence of Japanese design in their simplicity of form, use of geometric elements and functionality.

These qualities are exemplified by this glass and silver jug, its bamboo-like handle inviting the hand and its clear glass revealing the purity of colour of the liquid it contains. The same designs were produced in plated metals as well as silver, broadening Dresser’s influence across the applied arts market of the late nineteenth century. This was an approach to design that was suitable for the industrial mass-production of such objects well before the modernism of the twentieth century.

Dresser also designed functional and decorative objects for British manufacturers of ceramics, wallpapers, textiles, ironwork and glass, drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as ancient Egyptian, Celtic and Pre-Columbian art.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2014
From: Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2014