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Collection Summary

Collection Title
Decorative & Applied Art Collection
Birmingham's Decorative Art collections include objects made in a very wide range of materials. Ceramics, glass, stained glass, enamel, silver, jewellery, iron, and furniture and woodwork are all represented.

Whilst all of these collections include good coverage of the European and wider context, they are particularly notable for reflecting Birmingham's own heritage in silver, glass, stained glass and decorative metalwork.

There is an important collection of contemporary ceramics made since 1980.
The decorative art collections are especially strong in material in a variety of media from the latter part of the 19th.C. Ceramics by Minton, the Ruskin Pottery, de Morgan and Martinware, glass of the aesthetic movement, and Arts and Crafts jewellery, silver and enamel are examples.The stained glass collection focuses strongly on 19th. and 20th.C examples, with a particularly strong group of Morris and Co. and related Arts and Crafts windows. The relationship with the museum's archival collections is important.The collection of contemporary British ceramics made since 1980 includes work by Elizabeth Fritsch, Alison Britton, Gordan Baldwin, Magdalena Odundo, Ewan Henderson and James Tower.Birmingham has an oustanding collection of work by and associated with Matthew Boulton, including silver, ormolu and Sheffield plate.Birmingham has an unusually fine collection of architectural metalwork gathered during the late 19th. century to provide a context for the City's own production of such material. The collection is particularly strong in Italian material from the 14th. to the 18th. centuries. Complimentary collections of door and cabinet furniture were formed at the same time, with North European and Italian material from the late Middle Ages to the 18th. century.Birmingham's collections of furniture have been formed mainly to furnish the service's houses, such as Aston Hall, Soho House and Blakesley Hall. They date therefore from the 16th. to the 18th. centuries, with some 20th. century craftsman-designer pieces.
Date range of collection
1 -
Accumulation Dates
Suggested Audience
Not Specific
Associated Places
Associated Times

Location Details

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
Chamberlain Square Birmingham West Midlands B3 3DH United Kingdom
Open Map
0121 303 2834
0121 303 1394 
Visiting Information
Free Admission (Entrance fee for some exhibitions), lift available. Monday-Thursday 10.00am - 5.00pm Friday 10.30am - 5.00pm Sat 10.00am - 5.00pm Sunday 12.30pm - 5.00pm
Building Information
The original building by Yeoville Thomason is purpose built and dates from 1885. New galleries, linked by bridge to the original structure, were added over the years following the First World War. The Gas Hall exhibition gallery, converted from the old Municipal Gas Company's payments hall in the same building, was added in 1993. The Water Hall gallery for modern art, former Council offices, was added in 2001.
Collections Overview
Birmingham is the largest non-national museum service in England and Wales, and the scale and significance of its collections reflect this fact. They cover most aspects of human and natural history, and most of the collections have been Designated. The collections recorded here include those from the former Museum of Science and Industry. This museum is now closed. Some of the principal exhibits are now shown at the Thinktank museum and science centre which opened in 2002, but all the collections are still owned by Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery.
Display Overview
The collections are displayed in extensive purpose-built surroundings, usually by subject. Over the last twenty years there has been a near-continuous programme of display renewal and replacement, though some still await attention. Some Science and Industry collections are shown at Thinktank.
Star Objects
The Pre-Raphaelite collection, including ‘The Last of England’ by Ford Madox Brown. Canaletto's views of Warwick Castle. ‘The Madonna and Child enthroned with Saints’, painted in the new oil technique by Bellini in Venice in 1505. An elaborately bandaged Egyptian mummy from the third century. The 2.3-metre Sultanganj Buddha, which has been on display in Birmingham Museum since 1867. The Wonderwall - a selection of the museum’s most popular objects including a 1940s bomb and a 1970s Space Hopper. The Pinto Collection of over 7000 wooden objects. Ceramics by Wedgwood, the Worcester porcelain factory, William De Morgan, the Martin Brothers and the Ruskin Pottery.
For details of other collections held at the same location: See the location record

Additional Collection Information

Related Publications
Management Information (Type)
Collection Owner(s)
Collection Creator(s)
Collection Collector(s)
Collection Custodians(s)
Associated Collection(s)

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