William Morris Tile Set

Trellis

pdpt17

Tile Set

This Tile Set is NO LONGER AVAILABLE

William Morris Tile Set

Sets of Individually Patterned Tiles.

Whilst most tiles do not craze, the thickness of glaze necessary to reproduce the very shiny Victorian colours may occasionally cause this to occur. It does not affect the seviceability and actually achieves a truer degree of reproduction effect.

Our new Fireplace Tile website

Our full range of heat resistant glazed fireplace tiles and hard wearing Quarry tiles are on our fireplace-tiles.com website

We also sell specialised shaped fireplace tiles used to make fenders around a fireplace hearth and a wide range of decorative tube-lined and transfer printed five tile panels or tilesets which are used either side of a cast iron fireplace.

Fireplace Tiles

Tiles were first used in Georgian Fireplaces when the whole fireplace opening would be tiled and a fire basket place inside it on the tiled hearth.

Fire baskets were superceded by Hob Grates and then by Framed Hob Grates and eventually by Cast Iron Fireplace Inserts.

From c1800-1860 plain cast iron square framed and arched fireplaces were common

Victorian tiles were used widely from flooring to wall covering to and eventually as fireplace decoration.

Tile sliders were introduced into cast iron fireplaces at side of the opening from 1860-1880. They allowed 6 inch tiles to be slid down at either side of the opening.

There is no practical reason for the tiles, they are purely decorative.

The tiles fit in a cast iron frame held in position by pieces of cardboard. They are then plastered over from the back with bonding plaster. Once dry the fireplace itself can be fitted. Once set into the fireplace the tile set cannot easily be changed without removing the fireplace from the wall.

Victorian potters especially in Staffordshire had a large cheap labour force and decorated tiles using a number of methods.

Plain Glazed tiles used white lead, flint, china stone and china clay ground to form a basic glaze. Metal oxides were added to give different colours. A clear glaze brought out the natural body colour and was applied over any coloured decoration.

With hand painted tiles the artist painted directly onto a plain tile. A design could be copied and pricked through a piece of paper. The pattern was transferred to the tile by "pouncing " through the holes with charcoal and then colouring the tile.

Art Nouveau tiles used a process of tube lining where slip was trailed onto the surface of the tile. This formed raised lines separating the areas where different colour was wanted. Coloured glazes were poured into the areas of the tile formed by the tube-lined decoration. These tube-lined tiles later gave rise to the moulded Art Nouveau tiles as a cheaper alternative.

The most common method of decorating Victorian tiles, transfer printing was invented by two Liverpool printers, Sadler and Green.

An engraved copper plate was covered in colour and then the excess was removed, leaving the colour only in the engraved parts. Tissue paper was pressed onto the plate which was then placed colour side down onto the tile. The colour was transferred by rubbing it down, and the paper removed.

Most Fireplace Tiles are 6 inch square but more unusual examples do occur in 4 inch and 8 inch square.

Very often these tiles had spacers, a fairly plain 6 inch x 2 inch which break up the repeating pattern.

Victorian Tiles achieved their maximum popularity from 1880 to 1901. Prominent artists were commissioned to design tiles, and designs allowed clever patterning when several tiles were used together.

Tile panels or runs in which the pattern continues across the 5 tiles became very popular in Edwardian times but very few sets of 10 survive since just one discoloured or broken tile ruins the set.

Tile panels became even larger with the introduction of the Canopy on legs around 1880 which dispensed with a cast iron frame for the tiles. The tiles were cast into their own panels and these were then placed on either side of the canopy behind the mantel. They were placed at an angle depending on the size of the mantel.

The most common size was 10 inch with 6 inch tiles surrounded by plain 2 inch tiles but panels have been made up to 30 inch!!!

The patterned Fireplace Tiles were always mirrored in the hearth although today this seems too fussy. Normally we would choose the background colour of the patterend tiles for the hearth.

The hearth tiles themselves would normally be of the same size but to make the hearth more interesting we can make other patterns i.e. herringbone, cross hatch diamond etc.

Another very common tiling arrangement was the cross bonded or brick effect which looked like 1 inch tiles but were in fact standard 6 inch tiles moulded to have the appearance of 1 inch sticks. These Edwardian arts and crafts tiles were mirrored again in the hearth. We can recreate this effect in hand dipped colours.

Our Tubeline and Majolica Decorative Tiles have been hand produced in the time honoured way. The very nature of hand production ensures that no two pieces will ever be exactly the same and that inevitably there will be some shade variations from tile to tile.

Plain Tiles are also available

The same plain tiles that we use for our hearth are also available for use as spacers in tile sets or on their own if necessary.

Available plain tile colours.

Whilst most tiles do not craze, the thickness of glaze necessary to reproduce the very shiny Victorian colours may occasionally cause this to occur. It does not affect the seviceability and actually achieves a truer degree of reproduction effect.