WMF Wächtersbach Art Deco Modernist Sardine Dish

A rare, metal and ceramic item of tableware from early 20th century Germany, with simple, modernist design. Second-hand.
Availability: Out of stock.
Stock ID: 1174

What's for sale?

This is an attractive, metal and ceramic Sardine serving dish, made around the 1920s and 1930s by the German companies WMF and Wächtersbach Keramik. It was part of a large range of kitchen and table ware, decorated in a variety of patterns.

The metal parts are nickel-plated and comprise the tray and the lid, with a tall, elaborate finial. These smaller pieces are the rarest and hardest to find, and we have not yet seen another of these Sardine dishes.

In their 1929 trade catalogue, this sardine dish had catalogue number 7265/2000, and was available to the trade for 4 shillings and 4 pence. It could also serve as a butter dish, although the butter dish in the range was circular.

This, and other patterns in the range, illustrate how styles evolved between Art Nouveau and Art Deco. The small squares are reminiscent of work by modernists Joseph Maria Olbrich  (1867-1908) and Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868 - 1928). We don't know exactly when these forms and designs were introduced, but their production spanned a long time. Hot water jugs in the range were first introduced in the late 19th century and were still appearing in the 1930s, updated with modern patterns like this one.

Who made it and when?

It was made by WMF and Wächtersbach in Germany, around the 1920s to 1930s. The metalwork is signed on the tray's base with the WMF running ostrich in a fully, horizontally-striped arch over the letters "WMF G". This mark was used between 1920 and 1930.

The ceramic base is also marked:

  • WMF.
  • Dec. 2000 (the decoration number)
  • 25.

Also impressed into the ceramic base are:

  • A shield with horizontal bands (the Wächtersbach mark)
  • 4225

What condition is it in?

  • Second-hand
  • In fair to good condition
  • There are two small chips together on the inside lip of the ceramic box where the glaze has come off
  • There are no cracks but slight crazing at one end
  • Some of the pattern's vertical grey lines are faded
  • The metal shows its age in several places with pitting and tarnish
  • There are many scratches on the underside of the tray

What are the measurements?

  • Tray: 19cm x 15cm x 1cm (7.25 x 6 x 0.5 inches)
  • Ceramic dish: 14cm x 10cm x 4.5cm (5.25 x 4 x 1.75 inches)
  • 8.5cm total height (3.5 inches)
  • 480 grams

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Item Attributes
Attribute nameAttribute value
MakerWMF Wächtersbach
PeriodEarly 20th century (1900-1949)