Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/exhibitions/35350293/

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18206795/

  • clear amber glass
  • Gift of Rodman Wanamaker

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18340829/

  • raised, cast, and applied gilt silver
  • Gift of Louise B. Scott
  • dining
  • storage
  • tableware
  • leaves
  • grapes
  • vines
  • ladder

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18344981/

  • painted and gilded lincrusta-walton
  • Gift of John Davison Rockefeller, Jr.

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18443947/

  • painted earthenware
  • Museum purchase through gift of Charles W. Gould

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18562505/

  • Designed by Christopher Dresser
  • block-printed paper
  • Gift of Wilmer Moore

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18620857/

  • Designed by Christopher Dresser
  • Manufactured by Linthorpe Pottery, Yorkshire
  • glazed earthenware
  • Gift of David Schafer
  • display
  • vessels
  • flared
  • form
  • earth tones
  • pouring
  • earthenware

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18633375/

  • Designed by Christopher Dresser
  • Manufactured by Coalbrookdale Company
  • cast iron, marble, glass, brass
  • Museum purchase from Walter R. Scholz Memorial and Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Funds
  • display
  • symmetry
  • domestic interiors
  • table
  • carved
  • Japanese influence
  • iron
  • furniture designers

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18634195/

  • Designed by Christopher Dresser
  • Manufactured by Linthorpe Pottery, Yorkshire
  • glazed earthenware
  • Museum purchase from Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Fund

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18634329/

  • Designed by Christopher Dresser
  • Manufactured by Minton, Hollins & Co.
  • glazed earthenware
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment
  • interior
  • decoration
  • ceramics
  • clouds
  • home
  • water
  • waves
  • display
  • exhibition
  • adornment
  • birds
  • decorative
  • stylized
  • sun
  • curving line
  • tiles
  • Japanese influence

The composition of this tile directly relates to a Japanese blue and white ceramic flowerpot that was exhibited at the 1862 International Exhibition in London, showing the explicit influence of Japanese wares on Mintons’ production, an alliance that was reinforced with Dresser’s input. The Mintons factory archive holds two designs of flying cranes signed by Dresser.

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18634351/

  • Designed by Christopher Dresser
  • Manufactured by Benham & Froud, Ltd.
  • copper, brass, ebony (kettle), wrought iron (stand)
  • interior
  • container
  • domestic
  • home
  • display
  • dining
  • drinking
  • tendrils
  • curving line
  • globular
  • reflective
  • hosts

For much of his career as an industrial designer, Christopher Dresser believed that symmetry was the perfect expression of natural order. Visits to Japan led to a new appreciation of asymmetry. Below this copper kettle, intertwined vine-like forms curl around the stand. This spontaneous line breaks from the rigidity of Dresser’s earlier style, as seen in the toast rack nearby.

This object is currently on display in room 206 in Carnegie Mansion.

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18646737/

  • Designed by A.W.N. Pugin
  • Manufactured by Minton and Company
  • Museum purchase from Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Fund in memory of Dona Guimaraes

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18646873/

  • Designed by Richard Redgrave
  • Manufactured by J.F. Christy
  • enameled and gilt glass
  • Museum purchase from Decorative Arts Association Acquisitions Fund in memory of Dona Guimaraes
  • water
  • flowers
  • grass
  • transparent
  • serving utensil
  • growth

Artist Richard Redgrave was the headmaster of the Government School of Design in London where he trained designers for industry and taught “art botany” to Christopher Dresser. Redgrave designed this carafe for Felix Summerly’s Art Manufactures, a company run by Henry Cole, who would work with Paxton on the Great Exhibition a few years later. The decoration follows the principles of design reform and thus reflects the functionality of the object—the painted plants seem to emerge from a spring when the carafe is filled with water.

This object is currently on display in room 206 in Carnegie Mansion.

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18646875/

  • mahogany, leather
  • Museum purchase from Decorative Arts Association Acquisitions Fund, in memory of Dona Guimaraes
  • seating
  • concave
  • department store
  • Egyptian revival

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18697321/

  • Designed by Christopher Dresser
  • Manufactured by James Dixon & Sons
  • silver-plated metal
  • Museum purchase through gift of Margery and Edgar Masinter and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • food preparation
  • kitchen
  • dining
  • storage
  • geometric
  • stemmed
  • Japanese influence
  • triangular
  • ball joints

The clean, angular form of this toast rack is characteristic of Dresser’s innovative designs—simple lines create the form and replace ornament. Dresser, unlike other design reformers of his era, used industrial methods to make good design more affordable: here, silver electroplating makes the precious material available to a broader range of consumers.

Shock of the Old: Christopher Dresser

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18804417/

  • Designed by Christopher Dresser
  • Manufactured by Hukin & Heath
  • silver-plated metal
  • Gift of Miles Lourie
  • food preparation
  • kitchen
  • dining
  • order
  • storage
  • tableware
  • silver
  • curved
  • line
  • eating
  • metalwork
  • ball joints
  • rods

Dresser believed in an underlying order, unity, and symmetry derived from nature, and the stems and rivets of this toast rack are remarkably similar to his studies on branch growth, as seen in the facsimile drawing nearby. This is one of many silver and electroplated wares Dresser designed for Birmingham silversmiths Hukin & Heath. Dresser’s functional objects reveal not only his scientific background, but also his concern with limiting ornamentation to make objects affordable and suitable for serial production

This object is currently on display in room 206 in Carnegie Mansion.