Collections: Decorative Art

The decorative art collection has been built up steadily over the years and includes some fine examples of earthenware, stoneware and porcelain from the principal English factories as well as Sussex Ware and regional contemporary studio pottery.


Decorative art represents a range of some of our smaller collection areas, often with local significance; for example, Tunbridge ware, Mauchline ware, silverware and netsuke. However, it mainly represents some 300 pieces of glassware, namely English 18th century & 19th century drinking glasses with some fine airtwist stems. The star of the glass collection has to be the Steyning Bowl, c1790, made for a local merchant. The ceramics collection consists of mainly earthenware, stoneware and porcelain from 18th century to modern day, representing the main British manufacturers of decorative and functional wares. For example, there are rare pieces of Rockingham, Brameld & Co 1831-42, early examples of Bow & Minton porcelain and Doulton stoneware, and some fine pieces of Longton Hall, Worcester, Wedgwood and Spode.

Sussex pottery dating from medieval wares through to 19 th & 20 th century rustic functional pieces have a strong place in the collection, as do Sussex and Worthing souvenir china, and royal and general commemorative wares. Special pieces include mugs designed for the last two coronations by Dame Laura Knight and Eric Ravilious.

There is an extensive collection of Staffordshire figures and dogs, and also toy and dolls house china. A fine, if relatively small, collection of Studio ceramics and glass from the 20 th and 21 st centuries bring the decorative art collection up to date, including work by Bernard Leach, Peter Layton, Ray Marshall, Reginald Wells, Maggi Giles and Yvonne Hudson.