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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (decorated)
    Netherlands (made)

  • Date:

    1862-1875 (made)
    ca. 1862 (designed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Morris, William, born 1834 - died 1896 (designer)
    Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. (decorator)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hand-painted on tin-glazed earthenware

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by J. R. Holliday

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery, case 3

Object Type
Hand-painted tiles became a popular feature of artistic interiors from the 1860s onwards. Such tiles appear regularly in houses decorated in the Arts and Crafts style, and were used widely by exponents of vernacular architecture such as Richard Norman Shaw (1831-1912). The most common setting for such tiles was in and around the fireplace.

William Morris's love of medieval imagery is well known. In addition, however, he shared with many of his contemporaries a keen interest in vernacular British architecture and decorative art of the 17th and 18th centuries. This enthusiasm is demonstrated in his approach to tile making. This was carried out using a variation of the techniques that had previously been employed by the manufacturers of tin-glazed earthenware (delftware) tiles.

Design & Designing
William Morris's inspiration for such simple flower patterns as these, used on both tiles and embroideries, came from medieval herbals as well as the 18th-century Dutch and British tradition of flower-painted tin-glazed tiles. This 'Primrose' pattern relates closely to the embroidery designs for the Red House, Morris's own home.

Place of Origin

London (decorated)
Netherlands (made)


1862-1875 (made)
ca. 1862 (designed)


Morris, William, born 1834 - died 1896 (designer)
Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. (decorator)

Materials and Techniques

Hand-painted on tin-glazed earthenware


Height: 13.2 cm, Width: 13.2 cm, Depth: 0.7 cm

Object history note

Designed by William Morris (born in London, 1834, died there in 1896); produced by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., London; using a blank tile supplied from The Netherlands

Descriptive line

'Primrose' tile

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Like the 'Daisy' tile, this example shows Morris's early preoccupation with repeating patterns of small clumps of flowers (see the Chaucer stained glass above). The source for this has been identified as Froissart's 'Chronicles', a Medieval French illuminated manuscript. Morris either studied the original in the British Museum or, possibly, a printed version published in 1844. [27/03/2003]


Ceramics; Tiles; British Galleries


Ceramics Collection

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