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Sets of Tiles for Traditional Cast Iron Fireplaces etc

 

All sets are suitable for use in traditional cast iron fireplaces and any other installations where glazed tiles are normally fitted. It is not always possible to find undamaged fireplace sets so some may include repaired tiles or tiles with some damage none of which are cause for concern especially after fitting. In most cases chips to side and top edges will be hidden behind the fireplace frame. When fitted and viewed normally as in a typical cast iron fireplace at 3 - 4 feet away, all these sets look great.

Similarly when fitting in washstands or indeed any other situation where tiles are framed edges are hidden and damage not visible.

All are cleaned and ready to fit, if there are any remains of previous adhesive or mortar is very minimal and will not impede fitting.

There are always colour variations in a set of tiles these can not be considered defects for indeed in original catalogues colour variations are clearly shown almost as if they were celebrated, certainly they were considered an intrinsic part of the product. Colour variations certainly do add to the visual pleasure giving depth and interest, plain tiles or larger areas such as backgrounds with perfectly even colouring usually look flat.

In most situations lighting conditions are quite different on either side of the fireplace in particular one side will face a window and the other away, in the evenings illumination is never perfectly consistent whether from electric lighting or firelight.

Quite often we will get sets of tiles where one or two look quite different, we have often bought original fireplaces with sets mixed from different manufacturers particularly the more popular transfer printed designs. Such situations give us somewhat of a dilemma as people tend to be more concerned with colour matching nowadays. We use our best judgment, if variations are wide we will sell tiles individually, sometimes we can replace with tiles from stock to make a better match than was in the original fireplace or washstand.

Where we have sets of twelve we will usually sell just ten. Twelves are useful for fireplaces with tiled canopies which usually had two in the canopy. There are many different types of fireplaces some with even more tiles, it is exceedingly difficult to find larger sets than twelve. There are also unusual or rare fireplaces with combinations such as eight inch down the sides and six inch across the top, an original set for such is just about impossible to find and often they had bespoke or mixed pattern tiles.

For sets with 6x6 and 6x3 tiles we will consider swapping for others shown with other sets. We do use our best judgment in matching although most 6x3 are fairly nondescript on purpose to emphasise the 6x6 many original combinations we see are rather an odd combination. There will usually be an extra charge if only because we have to do another set of pictures and rewrite the web pages.

For appropriate dates for your house circa dates indicate the mid point of the believed production period and so a few years before or after is good, popular designs obviously were usually continued until their market faded. Design registration dates indicate when the design was registered which will be very close either way by a month or two from when the design went in to production, popular designs may have been produced for a couple of decades. Where registration numbers are actually shown on the tiles they will most likely have been made within three years as there is little point showing an out of date copyright for it then becomes an invitation to copy.

 

In cast iron fireplaces the opening in the frame is typically of the dimenions:

  • 5 1/4 inches wide
  • 29 inches outside height
  • 28 1/2 inches inside height

this results in about 3/8" overlap of tile side edges and 1" - 2" at the top of the panel, ie the top tile so quite a lot of damage will be hidden behind the frame and top plate.

Inside top corners of the tiles are completely hidden by the ironwork also being recessed and in the shadow of the top plate from overhead/natural lighting or the canopy from firelight light levels are low. Furthermore this is below eye level, typical eye level seated in a sofa is around 42" so around the top 3" of tile panels in fireplaces, allowing for 2" of iron work underneath the tiles, is hidden from view by the top iron border.

Tiles vary in size a little but not usually enough to restrict installation, border tiles tend to be a little wider than the 3", 1" etc due to how the glaze runs over the edge. Many, especially browns, are on stronger buff clay which are rarely undersize.

Around the edges chips which are quite noticable on loose tiles disappear behind the frame, a quarter inch chip looks quite large with the tile in hand but is completely hidden. Even if edge damage is slightly visible being close to the frame edge and away from the visual focus in the middle of the tiles it tends to visually blend in and disappear.

 

 

It is recommended that you give your fireplace fitter clear instruction as to how the tiles are best arranged to suit your requirements and usage, for example consider if a fireplace is in a room mostly used in the daytime and illuminated by natural light from window(s) or if the main illumination is evening firelight. Decide how you prefer the tiles to be arranged in the appropriate lighting conditions well before the fitter arrives to start work and attach a numbered label to each tile. It is also a good idea to attach an arrow to show which way is up, we have seen plenty of tiles fitted upside-down even in original fireplaces!

J. H. Barratt c.1908
Rhodes Rd.1911
Group of 72+ Maw Ruby Lustre 3x3 Patent Texture Tiles
Minton & Co Prosser's Patent Hearth circa 1850
Group of Twenty-four Mintons Hearth Tiles
Booth's/Marsden Circa 1895
Tiles from this group of bird tiles and these border tiles.
Set of 10, circa 1895
Set of 10, circa 1895
Set of 10, circa 1895
Set of 10, circa 1900
Set of 10, 1902 - 1905
Set of 10 circa 1905
Set of ten circa 1905
Set of 10, circa 1905
Set of 10 Mintons c.1893
Set of 10 Rd.1884
Set of 10, registered 1897
Set of 10 c.1895
Minton circa 1900
Mintons circa 1895
Set of 10 c.1898
Set of 10, circa 1900
Rare 5" Set of 10, c.1890
Set of 10, Maw c. 1875
circa 1900
Set of 10 Rd1904
Set of 10, circa 1905
Set of 10, circa 1908
Larger group of tiles suitable for fireplace panels and other uses.
Twenty Minton tiles suited for a pair of fireplace panels or a variety of other applications.
circa 1895 10 or 12
Set of 10 Rd 1891
circa 1885
c.1900 set of 12

 

 
Design your own fireplace tile set

 

Most people are familiar with the three most often found tile arrangements for cast iron fireplaces,

Five 6x6 similar tiles per side

Five 6x6 tiles making a panel per side

Three 6x6 and four 6x3 borders per side

There are many other variations some quite rarely found, we have added some examples from original catalogues on this page for guidance and inspiration but essentially any combination that would fit the space has been done somewhere at some time. Plain border tiles were often used and they were made in a variety of sizes, from jusr 1/8" wide (but only 4" long) and from 1/4" to 3/4" in 1/8" increments at six inches long. That's just the arrangements but given the variety of tiles and colourways certainly approaching if not exceeding 100,000 in the period 1870 - 1930 there is a near infinte number of unique designs available.

Whilst many tiles found in fireplaces were just as shown in manufacturers and distributors catalogues some customers would express their specific requirements con=mbining several designs and maybe processes of tiles in one fireplace, we see some examples in the original catalogues of multi-discipline tiles together.

Here we have groups of tiles, mostly 6x6 and 6x3 borders which can be selected from to make a complete fireplace set, pairs of tiles for centrepieces can be found on our regular pages.

The close-up pictures are best for colour guidance as they are scanned with consistent settings, the larger groups are photos and colour is dependent on lighting conditions. Comparing the close-up and larger picture of the whole group gives excellent guidance as to colour and condition.

Border tiles can either be intended to match with the main tiles or contrast, the most popular borders were in browns and either mid green or dappled yellow and brown (often called tortoiseshell) which nicely approximates to frames in pictures, oak or mahogany with gilded band. Dark brown, called mahogany in original catalogues now sometimes call teapot brown for the familar glaze used on teapots is great for working firplaces being warm and nicely reflecting the fireglow.

Buy a set of 6x6 and a set of borders and we'll take 25% off the borders as well as refund the delivery savings. Email for an invoice or use the buy now buttons and we'll refund automatically.

Click for Pairs of Tiles,for centrepieces
Click for examples from original catalogues

Set of 6
Set of 6

Set of 6
Set of 6
Set of 6
Set of 6
Set of 6
Set of 6
Set of 6
Set of 6
Set of 6

Set of 8
Set of 8

Set of 4

Set of 8
Set of 8
Set of 8

Set of 8
Set of 8 Mintons
Set of 8
Set of 8
Set of 8
Set of 8 Mintons
Set of 8 Mintons

Set of 4
Set of 4
Set of 4
Set of 4

Set of 4
Set of 4

Set of 10
Set of 10

 

  
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