Five desirable design collections
We’ve chosen five of our favourite design collections across the UK, from
arts and crafts pioneers to inspiring metalwork.
Design and technology played a starring role in the Great Exhibition of 1851, and the Museum of Manufactures founded with the profits would go on to be the world's largest museum of design and the decorative arts. Now called the V&A, it counts over 4.5 million objects in its extensive holdings, ranging from architecture to graphic design, encompassing the full breadth and history of applied and industrial design.
In 1902 the designer and entrepreneur Charles Robert Ashbee moved his Guild and School of Handicraft from London to the town of Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds, immediately establishing Gloucestershire as a global centre of the Arts and Crafts movement. Court Barn tells the story of design and applied arts in the area through objects crafted by Ashbee and his followers.
As well as being home to the Staffordshire Hoard, the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery houses an unrivalled collection of pottery and porcelain, both from Stoke-on-Trent and further afield. The displays leading visitors through the story of Staffordshire's world-famous ceramic design industry are complemented by exceptional holdings of pottery from East Asia and objects exploring the area's heritage, from a locally designed Spitfire to natural history collections.
Author, entrepreneur, political activist, businessmen, founder of the Arts and Crafts movement – William Morris was many things, but today he is best remembered as a pioneering designer who changed the course of the decorative and industrial arts in Britain. Situated in the building where Morris lived between 1848 and 1856, the Museum of the Year 2013 charts the development of Morris's designs from early textiles to the foundation of his own publishing house, the Kelmscott Press.
From the invention of the crucible technique in the 1740s to the development of high-strength steels in the late 20th century, innovations in metalworking have made Sheffield a centre of global industry for almost 300 years. The Millennium Gallery is home to a pre-eminent collection of metalwork, featuring 13,000 objects representing the best in industrial design, inspired by – and inspiring – makers and manufacturers in South Yorkshire.
The more you see, the more we do.
The National Art Pass lets you enjoy free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, while raising money to support them.