At the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Dresser’s death, the Victoria and Albert Museum presents a retrospective of his work
Dresser’s visit to Japan had a sustained influence on his designs
Toast rack, around 1879
Geometrically shaped teapot, designed for James Dixon and Sons, c. 1878


Exhibition: Christopher Dresser in London

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London presents a retrospective of Christopher Dresser’s work at the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his death: “Christopher Dresser: A Design Revolution.”


Christopher Dresser (1834-1904) is considered the first professional independent industrial designer of Great Britain. He was a pioneer of a new modern style with his designs, which later became classics, for the emerging consumer culture. The exhibition presents the entire spectrum of his work, altogether 230 pieces ranging from the early decorative designs to his transformed style, influenced by a trip to Japan, to his late minimalist objects.

His early work ranges between 1850 and 1876 and is characterized by new possibilities to efficiently produce good design with machines. Dresser became one of the most successful designers with his own studio, which worked for more than 50 manufacturers. After the mid 1870s his designs bore his signature, which made his name a brand and a guarantee for good design. In 1876 Dresser visited Japan as the official representative of the South Kensington Museum (today’s Victoria and Albert Museum) and the British government. The goal was to present a collection of British art to Japan, and to research Japanese art. Dresser was the first European designer to visit Japan, and this experience had a sustained influence on his work and his design approach.


Christopher Dresser: A Design Revolution

November 9 – December 5, 2004

Victoria and Albert Museum

South Kensington

Cromwell Road

London SW7 2RL

Great Britain