Blue and White Children's Pastimes Tile


Condition: Very fine
Price: £185 (approx $296)
Ref: 03537

 

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Three tiny rim chips, no crazing and perfect surface.


 

• Style/technique: Pictorial print
• Manufacturer: Maw & Co
• Dimensions: 6" x 6"
• Date: circa 1880

 

An excellent pictorial tile from a series of twelve 'Children's Pastimes' this being of three children playing 'horses and cart', a series that comes to market most infrequently which is most unfortunate for they are excellent tiles in all respects. The artwork, engraving, printing and Maw's great manufacturing skill - bright white clay, fine line printing and clear and brilliant glaze. Almost certainly the work of Owen Gibbons who designed maybe half a dozen pictorial series for Maw & Co. With Maw's badge and naming for the Broseley works so pre 1885.

Owen Gibbons trained at the South Kensington School of Art and was for a time curator of the Royal Architectural Museum in London before becoming head of the Coalbrookdale School of Art in Shropshire, whilst there he designed a number of tiles for Maw & Co. Later he went on to a partnership in Gibbons Hinton & Co, another maker of outstanding tiles.

Owen Gibbons is my favourite of all the artists represented on 19thC transfer printed tiles, he achieved a clarity of line equal to that of Walter Crane yet combined it with hatching and shading that gives depth without detracting. His designs were purpose made for tiles rather than with tableware as the primary end product as with many designs by the pottery and tile makers such as Wedgwood, Mintons China Works and Boote, and are designed to be well viewed from some distance as well as close to. Rarely found with his OG monogram to be absolutely sure of identification but his style is distinctive.

Maw & Co were the greatest of all the Victorian tile makers, not only mass producers, the largest company in the world for a decade or more, but also producing fine artistic works of such quality not normally associated with large companies. Not only did their mass production techniques exceed the quality of all the better known names such as Mintons and Pilkington but they also used more techniques than any other company. In the 19thC there are just a few small niches in which other companies surpassed Maws excellence, de Morgan in multicolour lustres, for a time W B Simpson with their brilliant underglaze colours (they were London agents for Maw & Co), Mintons China Works in Reynolds Patent multicolour printing, Marsden for stencilled slip and Sherwin & Cotton for their émaux ombrants (mostly 20thC really). No tile printer was as good at fine printing, or glazing, or moulding, or as versatile, they produced more patterns than all the Minton companies combined, it was only when art nouveau came along in the twentieth century and George and Arthur were no longer involved that the company lost their preeminence.


The image is a little oversize rather than cropped close to the edges so that the edges can easily be seen and any chips etc can be quickly spotted. Other marks described are usually not visible at all when the tile is viewed straight as one normally sees it and can only be seen with a critical eye when the tile is tilted to catch imperfections in reflected light. For more details of how we describe marks see Condition.

The image is full size at 72 dpi (about 430 pixels wide) in maximum quality JPEG format. Customers may request a larger 120 dpi image also in maximum quality JPEG format for closer inspection which will be sent by email.

 

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