Our superb Decorative Art collection features a huge range of furniture, ceramics, glass, metalwork, furnishing textiles and a paper archive with items dated from around 1750 to the present day. The collection has been Designated of National Importance by Art Council England.

Moineau Moqueur by Rene Lalique, c1930
Moineau Moqueur by Rene Lalique, c1930

Two galleries in Brighton Museum are dedicated to these collections, but some items can also be viewed in Hove Museum and Preston manor.

The collection illustrates many of the major design styles from c1880 to the present including:

• Aestheticism
• Arts & Crafts
• Art Nouveau
• Art Deco
• Modernism
• Surrealism
• Post-War Design and Contemporary.

Key pieces include Art Deco objects by Rateau (1882-1932) and Lalique (1860-1945) as well as the very popular Surrealist  Mae West Lips sofa, 1938, designed by Salvador Dali and Edward James.

Mae West Lips Sofa, Salvador Dali and Edward James, c1938
Mae West Lips Sofa, Salvador Dali and Edward James, c1938

The contemporary craft collection contains almost 300 exhibits by leading national and international craft makers who have been influential in the development of British contemporary craft including Grayson Perry’s vase ‘Difficult Background’ (2002).

The city’s ‘jewel in the crown’ is the Royal Pavilion which is furnished with some significant Chinese export wares including extremely rare late 18th century wallpaper hanging in the Adelaide Corridor.

The Pavilion also houses the Regency collection which includes examples of late Georgian cabinet-making by designers and manufacturers such as Elward, Marsh and Tatham, Thomas Hope, Sir John Soane, Louis Le Gaigneur, and silver-gilt collections by celebrated goldsmiths such as Paul Storr, Robert Garrard.

The Willett Collection of Popular Pottery includes 2000 Georgian and Victorian ceramics illustrating British history through a range of quirky, unusual ornaments once used to decorate the homes of ordinary people.

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