Decorative Arts

The Leeds Decorative Arts collections are Designated as being of national and international importance. They are linked to local crafts people past and present, and feature major collections of furniture, ceramics, wallpapers, modern crafts, metalwork, textiles and costume.

This collection is on display mainly in Temple Newsam House and Lotherton.

The English furniture from c.1530 to present is particularly important. Many objects formed part of the original collections at Temple Newsam and Lotherton and the Gascoigne family, or are linked to these collections. The collection as a result is on display mainly at Temple Newsam and Lotherton.

We have amongst the finest collections of British Furniture in the country. The core of the collection dates between c.1550 to 1900, and includes some superb examples of major makers such as Thomas Chippendale the elder and younger, Linnel and Gillows.

Other highlights from the collection include rare and unique items of stoneware, pearlware and earthenwares; outstanding silver pieces such as the Kirkleatham Centrepiece; the archive of Leeds furniture makers the Hummerston Bros and an extensive collection of British modern and contemporary applied arts.

We are also one of only three institutions that actively collect wallpapers in the UK. This includes salvaged items from English houses, an archive of the papers found at Temple Newsam and Lotherton and reproductions of papers from institutions such as the Palace of Westminster.

Collection Highlight – Pedestal Organ Clock by George Pyke, c.1765

Temple Newsam is home to a magnificent clock made by the royal clockmaker George Pyke in 1765. It is one of the great treasures of Temple Newsam and was comprehensively restored in 2014 and brought back into full working order for the enjoyment of our visitors.

The clock is still in working order, and is once thought to have belonged to Marie Antoinette. Mechanisms spring into action when the hour is struck, and one of eight popular tunes begins to play from the concealed barrel organ. Figures begin to dance, musicians to play, windmills and watermills to turn, animals chase each other and ships sail away into the horizon. See a demonstration of the Pyke clock at Temple Newsam on one of our tours.