At the end of the nineteenth century, Wurttembergische Metallwaren fabrik, or the Wurtemberg Electro Plate Company as the firm was known outside Germany, was the world's largest manufacturer and exporter of household metalware. At its height, over 6,000 workers were employed in Germany, Poland and Austria, and almost 10,000 designs for objects ranging from teaspoons to enormous table centrepieces were produced. Widely known by its initials WMF, the company sometimes employed the services of leading German designers of the day, but for the most part the wares were in a popular 'Jugendstil' style, the German version of Art Nouveau. These decorative pieces are highly sought after today and are prized by collectors throughout the world. WMF's domination of the export market is illustrated by the fact that they produced a sumptuous catalogue showing over 3,000 domestic pieces with descriptions in the English language. This catalogue was issued in 1906 by the company's English subsidiary from their showroom in Fore Street, London, and, as each illustration was hand-drawn, it must have represented a considerable investment.
Original copies are now virtually unobtainable, and the complete catalogue is reprinted here, in colour, for the very first time with a detailed historical introduction by Graham Dry, a noted authority on nineteenth and twentieth century decorative arts. For the collector, this revised edition will provide a fascinating insight into the type and style of domestic metalwork that was available at the height of the Art Nouveau period. With details which include size, finish, and cost, the descriptions will be a major source of information.show more