Since Bristol Museum & Art Gallery opened in 1905, there has been a particular emphasis on collecting local wares.
Bristol has one of the largest collections of English delftware, representing a major industry in and around the city from the 1640s until 1785. Delftware gave way to ordinary earthenwares, in particular those made by the firm of Pountney, which survived in the city until 1969. There were two porcelain factories. The factory owned by Benjamin Lund made imitation or ‘soft-paste’ porcelains around 1750; the other, operating in the 1770s on Castle Green, made true ‘hard-paste’ porcelain as produced by the Chinese.
Bristol is known the world over for its glass, in particular the so-called ‘Bristol Blue’. Examples are displayed in the Museum, together with important collections of English drinking glasses and French paperweights.
this has been collected principally to furnish the two period houses, the Red Lodge (built 1580, altered early-18th century) and the Georgian House (completed 1791), where it is displayed. In addition, there is a group of 13 pieces designed by the Bristol-born architect, E. W. Godwin, in the Anglo-Japanese style of the 1860s and 1870s.
English silver includes a small group of very rare Bristol-assayed pieces, early 17th century silver from St Werburgh’s church and domestic silver from the 18th and 19th centuries.
a collection of English samplers ranges in date from the mid-17th century to the early-20th and includes examples of the Bristol Orphanage samplers made at Müllers Orphan Houses.