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Catalog List Victorian Tiles
My work is the embodiment of dreams in one form
or another. ~William Morris
William Morris was three years old when Victorian ascended the throne. Within a quarter of a century, he would change the direction of tile and the decorative arts. Early Victorian tiles were symmetrical and characterized by geometric shapes, usually mass produced by such companies and Minton Co. Morris, inspired by critic John Ruskin and his friend, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Morris introduced natural motifs and artisan methods for tiles and the decoratives arts. The movement became known as Arts & Crafts. Victorian Arts & Crafts tiles are a subtype of Victorian tiles, characterized by natural motifs and bright colors and individual or small-run production methods.
At its core, the Arts & Crafts movement was reactionary, advocating a return to the medieval craftsmanship and quality. Morris took exception to what he considered low quality in 19th century and Victorian tiles that were products of the Industrial Revolution: mass-produced inlaid, printed, or Delftware tiles. Although this was generally true, some mass-produced tiles were quite robust.
Most tiles in the catalog are Victorian, either Morris and De Morgan designs, or have a Victorian aspect, although you will find Victorian Medievalism-inspired and later Arts & Crafts tiles (California, Glasgow) as well.
Lewis Carroll standing before his William De Morgan tile fireplace at Christ Church, Oxford. Carroll (Charles Dodgson) was a good friend of the Rossetti family. Rossetti was a principal at Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co., where De Morgan began his tile career.