Metalwork permeates every aspect of our lives, from the kitchen utensils we use daily, the railings and lamp posts that line our streets, the components in our phones, to the heirlooms we cherish for life. The V&A holds one of the world's largest and most varied collections of Metalwork with around 45,000 objects from the Bronze Age to the present day. Additionally, the Gilbert Collection of gold, silver and micromosaics on loan to the V&A shows spectacular items including Frederick the Great's diamond-encrusted snuffbox.

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You can see metalwork on display right across the museum. The story of metalwork is one of scientific discovery, industrial invention and artistic innovation. Highlights include a decorated box given by Elizabeth I to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester around 1575, a ship-form drinking vessel which possibly rolled from guest to guest at the dining table, and an enamelled wall light from 1899 in the form of a flamboyant peacock. Miriam Hanid's watery silver centrepiece highlights our growing collection of metalwork by modern makers.


Header image:
'Streamliner', meat slicer, designed by Egmont Arens and Theodore C. Brookhart in 1940, manufactured by Hobart manufacturing Co from 1944, USA. Museum no. M.222-2011. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London