Pictures & Portraits
 
Pictorial series
Portraits
Landscapes and Views
Animals, Birds, Fish, Food and Fruit
 

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Eight Inch Tiles

Most eight inch square tiles were made from around 1870 to around 1890, outside of these dates they were rarely seen. Being larger tiles they offered more scope to artists, a larger 'canvas', so a greater proportion than 6" x 6" tiles are handpainted, but several manufacturers simply added borders to existing 6" x 6" designs or took designs intended for large plates and stuck them on tiles.

 

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About Pictures & Portrait Tiles

The most popular subjects for picture series are taken from literature, Shakespeare's plays, Aesop's fables, nursery rhymes, novels and poems. The calendar; seasons, months and times of the day feature strongly as do musicians and sporting scenes. Many of the earlier designs are inspired by the past, medieval and greco-roman styles abound. Oriental landscapes were popular early on, in the1880s british landscapes became more popular often featuring scenes from an idyllic rural life, sporting scenes that most often represent the country sports of hunting and fishing, later still architectural themes became more prevalent featuring pictures of some of Britains great historiuc buildings. Some of the sporting series exhibit somewhat of a sense of humour but Moyr Smith's series from folklore like Elfins and Water Nymphs are the most irreverant. Most major companies did a series of farm animals, birds weren't so popular as printed series but feature strongly in hand painted tiles, there are quite a few with butterflies and insects on them too.

Majolica pictures tend to be more figural than landscapes the latter perhaps being too detailed for a good representation in the process, many majolica pictures are portraits of famous personalities of the times. Pictorial tiles had faded in popularity by 1900, at least few new designs were commissioned, sales could have relied on back catalogues. Along with majolica colour had become more important and making detailed, especially figural, colour majolica tiles was very difficult as it was more problematic to keep the glazes colours from bleeding than with painting stains. Majolica pictorial tiles were overwhelmingly single colour as indeed had been printed picture tiles but in the heyday of the picture tile, 1870 to 1890, the range of underglaze colours was limited anyway by the technology available. Some designs cried out to be coloured, the few William Wise landscape tiles that are seen coloured are a real joy, it's a wonder that more were not made although Mintons China Works did very few handcoloured prints of any genre preferring to concetrate on their printing expertise.

In the Edwardian era coloured rural scenes tiles were made, both handpainted and hand coloured prints, often in bright colours and at times naive they are cheerful and charming. To some extent Dutch subjects and scenes became fashionable again, both landscapes and figural, featuring windmills and canals and the inevitable clogs.

 

 

 

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