William Morris Swan Tiles

Every man thinks his own geese swans. ~Charles Dickens

William Morris Swan Tiles,
variations 1860-1901

Swan Background Tiles

Swan tiles, designed by William Morris in 1862, were sold by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Co. as early as 1863. Between 'The Firm', Morris & Co., and Dutch tile houses, more than a dozen variants of Morris's swan pattern were produced.

William Morris Reproduction Tiles

More than a dozen "official" versions of William Morris's swan tile pattern exist. The earliest swan tiles surrounded the fairy tale panels designed by Edward Burne-Jones for Morris, Marshall, and Faulkner. Swan tiles were also sold by Morris & Co. I offer five variants of Morris's swan pattern.

Fairy Tale Swan Surround Tiles

The first swan tiles were designed as a background for the bedroom fairy tale panels at 'The Hill'. Morris & Co. produced swan tiles well into the 20th century. A variant of the original design decorated the drawing room fireplace in Kelmscott Manor. The Fairy Tale Tiles were designed by Edward Burne-Jones and painted by Lucy Faulkner.

The swan tiles surrounding the fairy tale panels at 'The Hill' are the earliest installation of Morris's swan tile design. The original tiles were 6-inch squares, divided into 36 smaller squares, with unscrolled sprigs of foliage alternating with swans.

I have four sizes of Fairy Tale Swan surround tiles:

  • the original 6-inch tiles, with the original 36 swans; and

  • a smaller 4:25 version divided into 16 small squares.

  • either of these are available in a 3 in. by 6 in. version.*

  • a 6 by 8 inch version based on the larger, 36 inch version.*

The smaller version works well with the Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Sleeping Beauty tile panels.

The six-inch version is perfect for stair risers.

Fairy tale swan surround from The Hill, in 36 squares on 6-inch tile Fairy tale swan surround from The Hill, in 66 squares on 4.25-inch tile
Title: Fairy Tale Swan Tiles

Tile: Ceramic

6 x 8 inch: 48 swans

6 inch: 36 or 16 swans

4.25 inch: 16 swans

3 x 6 inch: 8 or 18 swans

16 swans: available in 3 x 6, 4.25, and 6 inch squares

Availability*: Swans can be shipped fairly quickly in the 4.25 and 6 inch versions. For 3 x 6 inch, or 6 x 8 inch, there may be a little longer wait for these as I don't stock very many of these blanks. See How to Order Tile.

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Pricing is the same for all the swan tiles.

3 x 6 inch tiles: $42

4.25 inch square tiles: $44

6 inch square tiles: $55

6 inch by 8 inch tiles: $80

8 inch square tiles: $92

Kelmscott Manor Fireplace Swans in Cobalt Blue

Designed by William Morris, this version of the original pattern was Dutch made, probably by Ravesteijn Tileworks in the 1880s. Tiles in this pattern are found in the Green Drawing Room fireplace at Kelmscott Manor. Later variants of the swan tiles feature scrolled foliage.

The Kelmscott Manor fireplace swans have a strong cobalt color and are reminiscent of the stylized Scottish Arts and Crafts movement that occurred in the 1880's and 90's, almost 30 years after Morris had established his first shop in London.

Kelmscott swans, alternating boughs and swans, 6 inch tile Kelmscott swans, five swan variation on 4.25 inch tile, alternating with boughs Kelmscott swans, five bough variation on 4.25 inch tile, alternating swith swans

Title: Kelmscott Manor Swan Tiles

Quantity: 8 tiles

6 inch: 16 swans

4.25 inch: 9 swans

3 x 6 inch: 8 swans

Late Morris and Co. Swans

This was arguably the most popular swan pattern, consisting of 16 squares of alternating swans and scrolled boughs. Produced at least 30 years after Morris began having the Swan pattern made in Holland and was sold by Morris and Co. well into the 20th century. This variant of the Fairy swan tiles features 9 or 16 squares of alternating boughs and swans, on a 4.25 inch tile. The 4.25 inch swan tiles are intentionally sized to work well as part of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Sleeping Beauty fireplace panel installations.

16 inch late swan version tile. Unbordered swan tiles left version with four swans, alternating with boughs Unbordered swan tiles right version with five swans, alternating with boughs

Title: Borderless Swan Tiles

Tile: Ceramic

6 inch: 16 swans

4.25 inch: 9 swans

3 x 6 inch: 8 swans

Historic Swan Tiles

'The Hill' Swan Background in Fairy Tale Panel

'The Hill' format for the installation of swan tiles

The fairy tale panels installed in bedrooms at 'The Hill' with surrounding swan tiles are:

Beauty and the Beast Fireplace Overmantel Tiles

Cinderella Fireplace Overmantel Tile panels

Sleeping Beauty fireplace panels