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The Marsden Tile Company
 

Excellent design and execution especially in majolica and stencilled slip, fine quality in ways most other manufacturers missed, rarely is an ordinary design from Marsden to be found. Made tiles for Wedgwood, Doulton and others and sold blanks to several other companies. George Marsden was one of the greatest tile makers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it is a travesty that he is barely recognised and then mostly for the wrong thing.

  

 

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We may have more of a particular pattern/series than shown as it is not always possible to list all together. Please ask if you require several matching tiles, more than 4 or 5 in very good or better condition is unusual.
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Tiles on the above two rows made substantially by Marsden for Doulton & Co. Pressing and stencilling by Marsden, over-decoration (gilding, enamelling and painting) likely by Doulton's studio.
 

 

 

Marsden's Patent, aka 'Patent Impressed' Wedgwood tiles.

 

The patent refers to decoration impressed in to the clay, all these tiles have dusted shading in the background, this may be Marsden's Patent if the dust is impressed in to the clay during moulding however it is not always clear as coloured clay dust may be spread on to the biscuit before application of the stencilled slip. In the white clay tiles shapes likely cardboard have been placed in to the press to form impressed patterns in the tile body when the press was operated, tother tiles have lace impressed, these are for sure Patent Impressed. Lace impressed tiles are often erronesouly called Slater's Patent (should be Doulton & Slater's Patent) but they are Marsden's patent, the effect is similar but the process is different. Marsden made the slip decorated tiles for Doulton & Co. who at times over decorated them with enamels and gilding. Patent impressed tiles may also be transfer printed, examples are known by Wedgwood and The Decorative Art Tile Co., the former may have decorated blanks from Marsden or fully subcontracted tile making, the latter bought plain and patent impressed biscuit from Marsden and plain biscuit from many others.

 

 

Stencilled Tiles That Are Not Patent Impressed

 

The sage and olive clay tiles below bear Patent Impressed verso but are not, they are simply stencilled. There arises the confusion but it was just that Wedgwood only had a back die that said Patent Impressed, they didn't pay for a back plate for green clay which didn't say Patent Impressed. The same backplate was used for all green clay tiles including transfer prints. It is therefore understandable that the misconception that stencilled = Patent Impressed has arisen even though the record is contrary. An abridgement of Marsden's Patent and his letter to Wedgwood offering to sell it and decribing its uses in more detail was published back in 1892, yet the author of that book and subsequent writers have failed to understood what was written by Marsden himself prefering to follow the misunderstandings of others.

 

Stencilled slip (barbotine stencil) tiles are often called Marsden's Patent because many by Wedgwood are found with Patent Impressed embossed verso and this has been understandably taken to describe the stencilled slip process. Marsden offered his patent to Wedgwood in 1880 and in 1881 production started with a specialist department being established the following year. This stencilled process however is not what the patent describes furthermore the slips are obviously applied rather than impressed, it would appear that the root cause of the misunderstanding is due to Wedgwood's buying in policy. A misreading of the patent not least by the author of the book in which the outline of the patent is transcribed along with a description of the process by Marsden himself has compounded the error.

It is believed that Wedgwood bought most if not all of their tile blanks from subcontractors and that blanks made from green clay came from different manufacturers to those from white clay. Green clay blanks being the most often used for Patent Impressed were all embossed with that legend however Wedgwood used such green clay banks for tiles decoration by other processes, ordinary stencilled slip such as this and also transfer prints. The result being that many stencilled slip tiles which do not use the patented process are found with Patent Impressed embossed when they aren't and they shouldn't. However transfer prints were also applied to patent tiles with clay dust impressed, these appear to be rare and careful inspection is required to be sure.

Wedgwood only had a specialist tile department from 1882 - 1888, if they made tiles it would be in this period however it may be that they had one or two tile presses prior to the specialist department. Tiles made from their reintroduction to the range of wares in 1875 until 1882 would likely have been decorated by Wedgwood on bought in blanks and this is apparently confirmed by the simple application of designs for tablewares on tiles. Tiles post 1888 were likely all manufactured and decorated by subcontractors with the possible exception of tinted prints where the tinting would probably have been done in the decorating department of the pottery. The primary contractors seem to have been Marsden and Webbs of Worcester with likely Malkin, Barratt and perhaps Lea and Boulton as other suppliers. Wedgwood apparently shopped around as one would expect with such a large pottery company for whom tiles were a peripheral activity. Embossed Wedgwood tiles were pressed and likely glazed by others, Marsden for certain and likely J H Barratt and Malkin.

 

 
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The Pilkington Tile Company

 
Late entrants in to the victorian tile market commencing production in 1893 at a time of boom in mass tiling projects, many patterns by the noted designers such as Lewis Day, C F A Voysey and Walter Crane.
 

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Please click on an image for a larger view, details and pricing information, pages will open in a new window.

We may have more of a particular pattern/series than shown as it is not always possible to list all together. Please ask if you require several matching tiles, more than 4 or 5 in very good or better condition is unusual.
For order, contact and other information please use the links at the top or bottom of the page.

Click the thumbnail image for a larger picture and description

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Copyright 2000 - 2017, All rights reserved