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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1880 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Earthenware, with transfer-printed decoration

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery, case 1

Object Type
The demand for wall tiles increased rapidly in the later 19th century. One of the most popular uses of tiles was in conjunction with fireplaces. While tiles had been used in this way for centuries, the new cast-iron grates that began to appear in this period were specifically designed to be set with tiles, which were fitted to metal panels that bolted onto the frame. Pictorial tiles were especially popular for this purpose, and many series of picture tiles were produced.

Production Methods
The mass production of tiles was greatly facilitated by the invention of dust-pressing in the 1840s. In this process tiles were formed by compacting powdered clay under high pressure in a screw-press. As many as 1,800 tiles a day could made on a single press, operated by two people. As well as increasing the speed with which tiles could be made, dust-pressing also ensured that a consistently high-quality product was achieved, much less prone to warping. The perfect regularity of this example is typical of tiles made in this way.

The style of decoration of this tile can be associated with the style known as Aestheticism. Prevalent in the 1870s and 1880s, this movement in the painting and the applied arts placed great value on beauty and decoration. Japanese art had a considerable influence on the style, as this tile shows.

Physical description

The design printed in underglaze blue is of a vase containing laurel sprays in a tripod stand, with a rising or setting sun.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1880 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Earthenware, with transfer-printed decoration


Height: 15.1 cm, Width: 15.1 cm, Depth: 1 cm

Object history note

Made in England

Descriptive line

Earthenware tile, transfer-printed with an Aesthetic design, unknown manufacturer, England, c.1880

Labels and date

British Galleries:

Glazed tiles were a colourful form of decoration considered hygenic as they were easily washable. They were used in the home, but also in pubs, banks, churches and shops. They were used not only on the wall but also in objects such as fireplaces and washstands. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

The design has a strong Japanese influence and could have been inspired by the work of artists E.W.Godwin or George Haite

Subjects depicted

Urn; Vessel


ELISE; British Galleries; Ceramics


Ceramics Collection

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