Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Ceramics, Room 143, The Timothy Sainsbury Gallery

Tring tile

Tile
ca. 1330 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Left hand top corner fragment from a rectangular tile of red earthenware with decoration cut away and incised through a coating of white slip under a clear glaze. Depicting a crowned king, holding up his right hand. To his left is a figure carrying a chalice-shaped vessel filled with small round objects.


object details
Object Type
Additional TitleAdoration of the Magi (generic title)
Materials and Techniques
Earthenware with white slip and clear lead glaze
Brief Description
Red earthenware tile fragment covered with white slip. With decoration incised and carved through the slip of a Gospel scene from the childhood of Christ (Adoration of the Magi). Said to have come from Tring Church in Hertfordshire. English or French, made about 1330.
Physical Description
Left hand top corner fragment from a rectangular tile of red earthenware with decoration cut away and incised through a coating of white slip under a clear glaze. Depicting a crowned king, holding up his right hand. To his left is a figure carrying a chalice-shaped vessel filled with small round objects.
Dimensions
  • Weight: .860kg
  • Maximum height: 10.8cm
  • Maximum width: 13.1cm
  • Depth: 3.6cm
Credit line
Gift from Mrs Walter Butcher
Object history
Nominal file: MA/1/B3698 Butcher, W. Mrs.

Gift from Mrs. Walter Butcher of Sussex who says that many years ago part of a similar tile was dug up when her husband's father made a tunnel under a public path from his garden in Tring to a paddock beyond the path.



The British Museum analysed their tiles in 2007/8 by thermoluminescence dating and the results said that they were made between 500 and 800 years ago.
Historical context
Similar tiles are in the British Museum which were acquired from a sale at Sothebys on 3 March 1922 and were described as:

'probably came from the Saxon church of St Peter ad Murum at Bradwell juxta mare, Essex, as they had been for many years in the possession of the Rector of that parish, and were acquired at the sale of his effects'.



The subject matter consists of apocryphal and Gospel scenes from the childhood of Christ. The scene represented on this fragment is the 'Adoration of the Magi'.
Subject depicted
Literary References
  • Gospel of St Thomas
  • Canonical Gospels
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • Review of Principal Acquisitions, 1927
  • W.B. Honey, English Pottery and Porcelain, London: Black, 1947
  • Mary F. Casey, 'The Fourteenth-Century Tring Tiles: A Fresh Look at their Origin and the Hebraic Aspects of the Child Jesus' Actions', Peregrinations: International Society for the Study of Pilgrimage Art, 2007
Collection
Accession Number
C.119-1930

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record createdNovember 2, 2006
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