Applied arts

The collection of applied arts of the National Museum in Szczecin amounts to nearly 4 thousand relics from between the 12th to the 20th century. It is dominated by wares from middle and northern Europe, including, above all, lands of former Duchy of Pomerania. The collections are divided into following groups: jewels and robes of Pomeranian dukes, goldsmithry, metal wares, ceramics and glass, furniture and textiles.

The most important part are the jewels and robes of Pomeranian dukes, originating from the second half of the 16th and the first half of the 17th century. The majority of them was brought out in 1946 of Szczecin castle crypt destroyed during bombings. A particularly large collection of jewelry – 27 gold jewels, enamel-decorated, set with diamonds and pearls – originates from the sarcophagus of duke Francis I (1577–1620). The most precious of them are, among others, decorations of duke's head-gear: an aigrette – a jewel in the shape of bunch of plumes and 13 rosettes placed on a hatband of a calpack hat. 3 gold necklaces, evidence of Francis' family bonds with court of princes-electors of Saxony in Dresden, also look magnificent. Among textiles 2 embroidered calpacks stand out for high quality. One of them, dated to the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, is ornamented with a motive of deers in a plant line, and the second, which used to belong to duke Philip II (1573–1618) – with a stylized plant motive of sophisticated shapes. Szczecin dukes were buried wearing their ceremonial costumes, instead of burial robes. Therefore clothes and jewels which have survived are a precious record of Griffins' court culture and – broader – culture of European courts of that times.

The collection of goldsmithry consists of over 250 objects. The oldest of them is so called ring from Pęzino (Western Pomerania), ca. 1200 – a gold signet ring witch etched image of a knight and mysterious signs around it. An important group of relics are liturgical vessels from Pomerania, from between late-mediaeval times and baroque. The most precious of them is a chalice by Szczecin's goldsmith Alexander Wegener, founded in 1558 by duke Barnim – unusually beautiful example of Renaissance goldsmithry and the oldest surviving artwork signed with Szczecin maker's mark. An exceptionally interesting group of relics are also baroque and Rococo silver tableware, including superb tureen of Berlin, by Johann Jacob Sandrart II, from 1760s. Rich ornamentation of vine branches excellently harmonizes with fluent Rococo form of the vessel. The collection of goldsmithry wares includes also numerous objects from the 19th and 20th centuries – from nobly simple works from the classical period to richly ornamented neo-baroque and Art Nouveau vessels. A separate, interesting group of artworks are Russian silver from the 19th and early 20th century, with distinctive ornaments referring to Russian folk art, decorated with niello and enamel.

Wares made of metals – tin, bronze, brass, copper and iron – are the most numerous collection. One of the oldest tin wares are two late-mediaeval jugs with bottoms decorated with Crucifixion scenes. The jugs belong to so called hanseatic ones, popular in northern Europe. From the 17th to the 19th century tin vessels were commonly used in households for drinks and meals, so the collection is dominated by plates, platters, jugs and cutlery. Guild (cups, jugs, beer mugs) and church vessels (bottles jugs, altar vases, candlesticks) were also made of tin – examples of wares of these types may be also found in Szczecin collection. An impressive group are Art Nouveau mass-produced wares. During the Art Nouveau period tin was at the revival of its popularity. Flexibility of new, refined alloys of this metal made it possibile to cast easily modelled objects of rich ornamentation, frequently with figural motives.

A precious group among bronze wares are 4 mediaeval thuribles (censers) from the 13th and the 14th centuries, originating from Pomerania or northern Germany. In their compositions, architectural motives, characteristic for late-mediaeval handicrafts, were used. In the Museum collection there is also a group of bells from Pomerania, originating from the period from the 13th to the 18th century. On account of the type of decoration – carved images of St. Catherine and a bishop – a particularly interesting object is a bell found in the 19th century in Świna (a part of the Oder river estuary), made ca. 1400. The Museum owes also pharmacy and kitchen mortars from the period between the 14th and the 18th centuries. Among the most decorative of them there are 2 large pharmacy mortars made by Hans Wolf Endtfelder in 1612 and Szczecin bell-founder Rolof Klassen in 1584.

Relatively large collection of iron and brass wares is dominated by blacksmithing wares from Pomerania, among others: trunks, lock, keys, ferrules and door knockers, frequently of rich decorative forms. The most interesting in this group are brass fireplace and heater tiles from the 16th, the 17th and the 18th centuries, frequently of high artistic level, e.g.  fireplace tile with a scene of the Judgment of Solomon, 1560, originating from Ludwig von Eberstein’s castle in Nowogard or, made after 1550, heater tile with an image of the Good Hero, holding a shield with a griffin, associated with dukes’ residence in Szczecin.

Szczecin collection of heater tiles originates from Pomeranian castles, palaces and bourgeois houses. It includes e.g. Renaissance relief tiles with portraits (among others, tiles with portraits of Saxon rulers, 1571, associated with dukes’ residence in Szczecin), allegoric representations (e.g. Johan Vest’s allegory of taste from ca. 1600), Biblical scenes (tiles with the parable of the Prodigal Son from the second half of the 16th century), and decorative motives.

The character of Szczecin collection of glass and ceramics is considerably varied. Not numerous, but meaningful group are stonewares from the period between the 16th and the 19th centuries, among others richly ornamented jugs from Siegburg, Westerwald and Bolesławiec. An interesting example of faience ware is a large vase from the 17th century made probably in Frankfurt am Main, with cobalt chinoiserie style (Chinese motives). Faience wares are dominated by the ones from the 18th and the 19th centuries, from, among others, Delft, Ludwigsburg, Kiel and Pomeranian Stralsund, as well, as renown Polish manufacture in Nieborów. The most numerous examples of porcelain vessels and statuettes are objects made in Germany and Austria (e.g. Meissen, Berlin, Ludwigsburg, Höchst and Vienna) and Poland (Korzec, Baranówka and Ćmielów). Relatively not numerous collection of glass wares is dominated by objects from the 19th century made in Bohemia and Silesia, mainly of layered glass, with cut, etched or painted ornaments.

A separate group are ceramic and glass Art Nouveau relics, e.g. impressive vases designed by Max Laueger, Hans Christiansen and Jan Szczepkowski, sparkling with the colours of the rainbow, iridescent glass from Bohemian manufactures and multi-layer, cut and etched vessels decorated with plant motives from glassworks in France (Émile’a Gallé in Nancy, Legras & Cie in Saint-Denis) and Germany (Vereinigte Lausitzer Glaswerke in Weißwasser).

The newest collection is Polish functional ceramics from 1950s and 1960s. Particular attention is deserved by two avant-garde-shaped services Dorota and Ina, designed by Lubomir Tomaszewski, one of the most famous Polish designers.
Applied arts housed by the Museum include also impressive collection of furniture. Around 200 objects origin from between the 16th and the 20th centuries, mainly from middle Europe. Among the most impressive and the most precious ones there are baroque furniture, e.g. secretary desk (chest of drawers with a level raiser and a hinged pulpit) inlaid with walnut tree veneer from middle 18th century, a wardrobe from Szczecin's St. John's church sacristy with inlaid date 1761 (?) and a wardrobe from Wrocław made in 1780s. An important part of the collection are also biedermeier-style bourgeois furniture from the 19th century.