The collection covers objects of precious and base metals: silver, gold, copper, tin, bronze, brass, iron and the many industrial alloys of the 19th and 20th centuries acquired in the very first years of the Museum’s existence. From the first acquisitions on, the collection was systematically added to, in the very beginnings with the galvanoplastic copies common in the 19th century, as well as by the purchase and donations of original works of art. In this sense, it was significantly enriched with the purchases of the Frank and Berger collections (1906; 1936 – 1939), and by numerous individual donations by members of the public and by the most recent great donation, that of the Tuškan family (2004). On the third floor of the permanent display objects of a secular nature are shown, while religious metal objects are shown in the exhibition of religious art on the first floor of the Museum.
In the metalwork collection, objects are grouped according to kind of metal.
The largest single part of the collection consists of silver, presented here with use objects of a secular character: candlesticks, jardinières, salvers, cutlery and other tableware. The selection covers examples from the 17th to the 20th century. Most of the material on show is part of the culture of central Europe (Germany and Austria), with Italian silver, mainly Venetian, being present in small quantities. An important separate unit consists of silver by domestic craftsmen of the second half of the 18th and first half of the 19th century: the silver objects seen here by Ferdinand Eberhard, Vinko Lehman and Henrik Wolgemuth stand comparison in their craft skills and high level of design with the contemporary trends in style anywhere in the Habsburg lands.
Metal design in the period of Neoclassicism and Empire is presented with a number of use objects made in Vienna, France and Italy, such as jugs, sugar bowls, candlesticks, salt cellars.
Biedermeier is represented not only by the already mentioned works of domestic craftsmen but also by specimens of the Viennese silverwork that dominated the Croatian market. A relatively large collection of high quality examples, on the whole vessels, cutlery and other tableware.
Among the objects on show, the Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne, a platter ordered for the Duke of Cumberland in 1815, and a number of Empire objects of bronze gilt as well as a serving dish made of platinated copper done in the Soho Works in Birmingham, once the property of Count Laval Nugent from Castle Bosiljevo are all of particular interest.
In the Art Nouveau section, objects of silvered alloy are presented, most of them from Austrian and Germany producers; a vase with yellow craquelé glass from the Viennese firm of Moritz Hacker, and products of the Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik as well as a fine pair of German-made candlesticks with a motif of bent female bodies are particularly worth attention. Along with specimens of floral stylisation, there are also items shaped in the geometrical spirit and of summary design typical of German authors, like the inkwell that can be ascribed to Albin Müller and the Richard Riemerschmid teapot.
Tomislav Krizman marked Art Nouveau in the local milieu. His works from the domain of the fine crafts are not extant in great numbers, hence the candlestick of 1912 is particularly valuable.
As well as silver, the metals collection in the display is represented by objects of base metals: pewter, brass and wrought iron. From the 17th to the early 19th century pewter achieved the maximum extent of its employment in everyday items, such as the displayed examples of flasks, jugs and tankards, bowls, bottles and a wash basin and ewer.
Objects of brass on display are in three units: trays from the 17th century, candlesticks from the 16th – 18th, and several lamps from the 19th century. The selection is made complete with a set of weights made in Nuremberg in the beginning of the 18th century.
A large unit inside the metal collection consists of items of iron, here represented with a small selection. Particularly interesting are a mortar shaped like a monkey of the 16th century, a run of keys and locks from the sixteenth century; it should be pointed out that the collection has specimens of iron from the foundry/factory in Čabar (Gorski Kotar, Croatia) of the 18th century. Duke Petar Zrinski founded the works in 1651, and it continued working until 1785.
Applied art from Art Déco until the 1960s is illustrated by works of local artists: a lamp of Ivo Kerdić stands out, having been exhibited in the pavilion of the Kingdom of the SCS at the Paris International Exhibition of 1925 and a chromed candlestick of Cvjetko Pećar of 1935. The selection of objects is concluded by specimens of the 1950s and 1960s, original artistic achievements in wrought iron, copper and enamel, among which works by Ferdo Rosić, Juraj Dobrović, Božidar Armano, Goranka Vrus and Slavko Jurić stand out.
dr.sc. Arijana Koprčina, museum advisor