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Pattern book - Metalwares pattern book for the export trade

Metalwares pattern book for the export trade

  • Object:

    Pattern book

  • Place of origin:

    England (published)

  • Date:

    1801-1815 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving on paper, with cloth binding

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118a, case 8

Object Type
This object is a printed page from a pattern book. A pattern book is a collection of designs brought together for use as a model or source by artists or craftsmen. This pattern book is anonymous and dates from about 1800.

Subject Depicted
This pattern-book page shows a selection of designs for metal handles for commodes (a commode is a piece of furniture which contains drawers or shelves). They are for handles made from stamped brass. To make stamped brass articles, thin sheets of brass were laid on a shaped block, known as a 'die', and hammered on the reverse, so that the design on the die becomes impressed in the brass.

Decorative brass fittings for furniture, such as handles like these, were among the staple products of the Birmingham and London brass founders during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Tadeusz Kosciuszko (1746-1817) played a significant role in the rebellions of two separate nations. During the American War of Independence of 1776-1783, Kosciuszko served with the colonists as both an engineer and a field commander, eventually at the rank of Brigadier-General. He also led the Polish-Lithuanian uprising of 1794, winning several key conflicts before his troops were defeated by vastly superior forces: the combined might of Prussia, Russia and Austria.

The inclusion of this figure in the pattern book indicates that this English merchandise was aimed at the export market.

Physical description

Engraving print on paper, with cloth binding

Place of Origin

England (published)


1801-1815 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Engraving on paper, with cloth binding

Marks and inscriptions

Titled 'Reflecting Commode Handles' and inscribed in red ink with the prices ranging between 6 to just under 10 shillings' (30-50p); on paper with watermark of Britannia and dated 1801


Height: 20 cm, Width: 32 cm

Object history note

Published in England

Descriptive line

Metalwares pattern book for the export trade

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Engraving, Illustration & Design, Old English Pattern Books of the Metal Trades: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection in the Museum. London: Printed under the Authority of His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1913.

Labels and date

METALWARES PATTERN BOOK for the export trade 1801-1815

The goods advertised in this pattern book were intended for export. The furniture handles seen here include a portrait of General George Washington. They were clearly aimed at the American market.

Engraving, ink on paper; cloth binding
Published in England
Inscribed in red ink with the prices ranging between 6 to just under 10 shillings on paper with watermark of Britannia and dated 1801
Museum no. E.129-1896


Ink; Paper; Cloth


Binding; Engraved


Pattern books


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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