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The Morris Ware, Tiles & Art of George Cartlidge

by Tony Johnson


Highly recommended to all tile collectors and lovers of Art Nouveau is 'The Morris Ware , Tiles & Art of George Cartlidge' a superbly presented hardback book with excellent pictures. Tile collectors will love the reproductions of thirty two pages from Sherwin and Cotton's catalogues from the 1890s and 1900s, as one of the few truly artistic tile makers the range of designs and colours in a variety of techniques is astounding. Collectors of Moorcroft who also appreciate the art nouveau style will be amazed by the wonderful tube lined pottery that George designed and created.

George worked for Sherwin & Cotton for most of its existence, from just five years after its founding in 1877 until its takeover by Johnsons in 1911. He was a fundamental figure in the design revolutions of aesthetic and art nouveau during the late victorian and edwardian eras, the period of the most rapid development in art ever, and the first time in history that artists had real freedom.

Amongst tile collectors George Cartlidge is best known for his portrait tiles, finely modelled works in the most amazing translucent glazes, many all indented moulding creating a near holographic effect as the surface is almost flat yet the image three dimensional. Often referred to as photographic tiles (photographs were the source material for the modelling) they simply make photographs look dull in comparison, in 1900 these would have been totally amazing. But pictures and portraits are mere copies albeit of difficult subjects and demanding great skill and execution, what appeals to me more is the creativity expressed in more stylised designs where the artist has real input and is not merely a skilled copyist. George's designs, tiles and pottery demonstrate superb understanding of the line, movement and the use of colour.

Revealed are original sketches and drawings by George and of George, the controversies that seem to dog any great artist's life and the tools and techniques that he used. With excellent source material both textual and physical this is an interesting and informative book.


  • 130 pages
  • 336 photographs
  • 18 pages of tile photographs
  • 21 pages of tile catalogue photographs (32 catalogue pages)
  • 30 pages of pottery photographs

Published by MakingSpace July 2004

ISBN 1-900999-19-6


£35 plus postage



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