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Tile in the William Morris and De Morgan Tradition

Arts & Crafts, Victorian, Medieval, and Pre-Raphaelite Tile

William Morris, Membland Tiles in indigo, cream, and black

There is no excuse for doing anything which is not strikingly beautiful. ~William Morris

Above: Membland tile panel detail in indigo, cream, and black

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Membland border tile

Welcome to William Morris Tile

Of all the paths a man could strike into, there is, at any given moment, a best path. ~Thomas Carlyle

Most visitors here are either:

Scholars referred from academia.edu or elsewhere who are here for research, not tile. Cut directly to the Articles.

Net Surfers who are idea shopping and appreciate the kitchen sink approach. I do that, too. You'll get there faster with the Customer Installation Photos or my tile boards.

Tile folks. I make William Morris and William De Morgan tiles and an increasingly wider circle around that: Morris-ish interests, Victorian culture and its interest in medieval culture, Early and later Arts and Crafts, Morris & Co., Pre-Raphaelite ceramics, the Rossetti Pre-Raphaelites.

Waterhouse, Circe

Thinking with Tile: Where to Start

Catalog: The gateway to tile catalogs, ideas and installation photos. The catalogs will give you an overview but you'll miss out on the many variations and options if you go no deeper. I include some backstory on individual tiles when I know it.

How this Site is Organized

Carta Marina of Olaus Magnus, 1527-1539

July: The Map is Not the Territory

Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things. ~Tobler's First Law of Geography

Carta Marina of Olaus Magnus, 1527-1539

Archbishop of Nothing

Olaus Magnus worked in the Carta Marina for 12 years. He didn't have much else going on -- he'd made a diplomatic trip to Rome and while he was away, his brother Johannes, the last Catholic archibishop in Sweden, had a falling out with King Gustav I so it wasn't safe to go home. When Johannes died in 1544, Pope Paul II appointed Olaus his successor as Archbishop of Upsalla. Since Sweden was no longer a Catholic country, Olaus was effectively Archbishop of Nothing.

The Carta Marina disappeared in 1574 and for the next 300 years, it was rumored that it never existed. It was rediscovered in Munich is 1886 and then another copy was found in Switzerland in 1961. The Carta Marina was made on 9 woodblocks. In the tile mural above, four tiles make up a woodblock. A 9 tile version is available

Learn about the Sea Monsters on the Carta Marina

More Maps

I will be adding more maps this month. Links to new maps will be added here:

Medieval Maps and Bestiary Tiles

Dragon tiles with maps

July Updates and Announcements

Art made by the people for the people, as a joy to the maker and the user... ~William Morris

Arts & Crafts Tiles

William De Morgan Persian Fish Frieze

When William Morris built Red House, his first married home, it became a gathering place for a circle of Pre-Raphaelite artists, Burne-Jones, Rossetti, and others. Red House was designed by William Morris in collaboration with his friend, architect Philip Webb. 'The Firm' (Morris, Marshall, and Faulkner) was conceived with friends after a dinner at Red House, later dissolved, and Morris & Co. formed. Pre-Raphaelite ceramics master, William De Morgan, began his career in stained glass at Morris & Co. but his interests and gift for ceramics inspired him to establish his own tileworks.

At the center of Arts & Crafts, is a philosophy, and a reactionary one at that: To elevate the decorative arts to the level of fine art, and to make them personal and accessible.

List of Arts & Crafts articles

De Morgan Tiles Pre-Raphaelite Ceramics

Glasgow School Arts & Crafts

Morris and Morris & Co. Tiles

Tiles from Tapestries and Textiles

Morris Red House and Early Tiles

Victorian Tiles

Blue and White Ships, Triptych

The first Victorian tiles were mass-produced inlaid, printed, or Delftware tiles. Morris took exception to what he considered low quality in mass-produced decorative arts but some mass-produced tiles were quite robust. The Arts & Crafts movement was reactionary, advocating a return to the medieval craftsmanship and quality.

Classic Victorian tiles are symmetrical and characterized by geometric shapes, usually mass produced by such companies and Minton Co. Arts & Crafts tiles are a subtype, characterized by natural motifs and bright colors and individual or small-run production methods.

Tiles in the catalog are primarily Victorian, either Morris and De Morgan designs, or, have a Victorian aspect.

Victorian Tile Catalog

The Queen Bee

Victorian Nursery Tiles

Victoriana: Blue and White Tiles

My work is the embodiment of dreams in one form or another. ~William Morris

Medieval Tiles

Medieval Dragon kitchen

Victorians had a strong interest in Medieval art and culture, myths and legends - Chaucer, Camelot and the search for the Holy Grail. William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones met at Oxford, beginning a friendship that would last a lifetime. They traveled through Belgium and northern France, where the Gothic churches left a lasting impression.

Their love of things medieval spanned literature, architecture, painting, bringing the mythic medieval worldview into reality in Red House. Its the walled garden was arranged in a medieval fashion, and Morris and Philip Webb researched and selected the plants he would put there. The house itself, was built along the path that Chaucer's pilgrims would have traveled on their way to Canterbury. Furniture, walls, embroidery was designed and executed by Jane, William and their friends, all in a medieval context.

These tiles are in the larger circle of Morris's medieval interests:

Medieval Maps and Bestiary Catalog

Hares and Harebells

Bestiary Dragons

Pre-Raphaelite Tile

Edward Burne-Jones Days of Creation Angel

At Morris &. Co., designs for one medium were often translated into another medium. The Pre-Raphaelite artists here are "second wave", primarily Burne-Jones and Rossetti. Artists associated with the Aesthetic Movement ("Art for Art's Sake") is not really Pre-Raphaelite. The Pre-Raphaelite concept is closer to "Art for Truth's sake".

Edward Burne-Jones was Morris's best friend and his mentor-turned-business-partner Dante Gabriel Rossetti was emotionally involved with Morris's wife, Janey. Jane, as well as Morris's daughters, Jenny and May, modeled for his friends. Jenny Morris was the model for the Days of Creation, Rossetti was close to May and even considered trying to adopt her. George Howard also painted both girls.

Pre-Raphaelite Art Tile Catalog

Days of Creation Angels

Edward Burne-Jones Briar Rose panels

Find

William Morris Kelmscott Chaucer tile, Astrolabe

Articles and Galleries

The galleries are new and yet unpolished. Galleries provide a visual overview. Follow the listing to the product page for variations, color options, sizes, and the backstory.

Tools

These tools will help you find what you're looking for.

Where to Start

Catalogs and Articles

Sitemap

Search - Google site search. New pages may not be indexed.

July 2016 Additions and Announcements

How I love the earth; and the seasons and weather
and all things that deal with it and all that grows
out of it as this has done.
~William Morris

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Current Lead Time - The current time to ship is about 2.5 weeks for most tiles

Featured tiles. Featured tiles change every few days and are posted to the catalog and social media (social media buttons). Featured tiles are discounted while they're featured.

Changing Notifications. Replacing email notifications. Introducing postcards and social media.

Adding Quick Order Links to product pages: Not every tile is a candidate for custom work. If you just need a few tiles, this is the expedient way to go. For many tiles, or a combination of tiles, or custom / bespoke tiles, How to Order Tile is a better way.

Current Projects

Glasgow School: Jessie M. King Beauty in the Beast's Garden

William De Morgan: Lions, tigers, and bears. Cobalt tiles on white

Golden Age Art Tile: Arthur Rackham

Notifications

Monthly email notifications are gone. They clutter. When I do send emails, they will be individual and personal.

If I have your mailing address, I will send a quarterly postcard featuring a tile with an interesting backstory, which I intend will be pretty enough for bookmarks and not make its way immediately to a landfill.

Notifications

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. ~William Morris

Featured Tile Notifications

Featured tiles are posted to the website and are discounted while they are featured. The current featured tile changes every few days or so.

Featured tiles are also posted on social media:

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William Morris Tile on Houzz