Our decorative art collection dates from 1564 to the present day. It contains 2,500 objects from Britain and further afield including ceramics, metalwork, furniture, clocks and musical instruments.

Highlights include one of the earliest violins in the world, made by Andrea Amati in 1564 for King Charles IX of France, a collection of 800 ceramics bequeathed to the museum by Robert Hardy Williamson in 1949,  a 17th century clock by Joseph Knibb of London, and objects associated with the Arts and Crafts Movement such as 40 William de Morgan tiles and metalwork from the Keswick School of Industrial Art.

Contemporary artists represented in the collection include Bernard Leach, Paul Scott, Richard Slee and Michael Eden.

There are also 130 examples of Chinese and Japanese ceramics dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. Studio pottery includes 100 pieces by Bernard Leach and Cumbrian makers’ Paul Scott, Richard Slee and Michael Eden.

Objects in this collection