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Closed for expansion and renovations
Christopher Dresser Hukin Heath Rodewijnkaraf

Claret jug 1881

Christopher Dresser UK

Hukin & Heath UK

glass, silver, ebony

purchase via Phillips, Son & Neale, 1989

Christopher Dresser was a ­precursor among modern industrial designers. Unlike his better-known contemporary William Morris, who like him pleaded for well-designed and affordable design within the Arts and Crafts Movement, Dresser was an advocate of modern ­production techniques. To compress costs, he made use of standardized parts such as handles and lids. He ­employed precious materials such as silver, but made frugal use of them. His designs are ­characterized by sober, geometric forms and are never decorated deceptively. According to nineteenth-century designers like Dresser, ‘moral design’ was honest in the use of materials and strived after timeless perfection by reducing forms to their essence. Dresser wrote: “There can be morality or immorality in art, the utterance of truth or of falsehood; and by his art the ornamentalist may exalt or ­debase a nation.”


Christopher Dresser, Principles of Victorian decorative design, Dover Publications, New York, 1995 [1870], p. 15.;
Sara J. Oshinsky, Christopher Dresser (1834–1904),in: Heilbrunn timeline of art history, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,, 10/2006.