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Tile in the William Morris and De Morgan Tradition

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

Briar Rose Heading

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

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From left: Lily and Pomegranate, May Morris Flower Pot, Blackthorn, Woodland Weeds, Acanthus

From left: Lily and Pomegranate, May Morris Flower Pot,
Blackthorn, Woodland Weeds, Acanthus

August: The First Harvest

No pattern should be without some sort of meaning. ~William Morris

The first of August is the day that ancient Celts celebrated the first harvest. Lughnasadh, or Lammas, marks the beginning of the noticeable descent of the Sun into the darkness of winter. It takes place on the 1st of August in the northern hemisphere (Feb 2 in the southern hemiphere), a date internationally agreed upon, or on the day of the full moon next to this date, if you want to celebrate when the ancient Celts probably did. Since the Celtic day started with sunset, the celebration takes place on the evening before the calendar date.

So for August, let's revisited the natural motifs in textiles:

Added May Morris Flower Pot in blue

Added Blackthorn.

Added Woodland Weeds, a later Morris & Co. design attributed to John Henry Dearle but with many Morris elements from earlier designs

Added Lily and Pomegranate.

There's more to a pattern than meets the eye with William Morris: Design must have meaning. Not only did Victorian culture put much stock in the meaning of flowers, Pre-Raphaelite work is laden with flowers and symbolism. His work is not only nature-inspired but reflects Pre-Raphaelite values and symbols, but at the same time botanically true and symbolic.

Mid-August Additions

William De Morgan: Peacock border tiles

Golden Age Art Tile: Arthur Rackham Fairies

August 2016 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 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.

Some Quick Order Links are now on product pages.If you just need a few tiles, this is closer to immediate gratification. I still make each tile by hand. For many tiles, or a combination of tiles, or custom / bespoke tiles, How to Order Tile will serve you better.

Current Projects

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

Botanicals: Victorian and Medieval Gardens

Change of Address

Our mailing address has changed. The new address is at the bottom of every page.

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.

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

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