1001 Art Nouveau Tiles




The CD contains high quality images of over a thousand original English Art Nouveau tiles dating from the period 1899 - 1920. Most are six inch square tiles, some are three inches by six inches and there are a few other less common sizes too. Most are individual tiles but there are a some multiple tile panels too.



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A fairly strict definition of Art Nouveau has been adopted, the vast majority of tiles are pure examples of the style but a few illustrate the merging of Art Nouveau with Art Deco, Classical, Aesthetic, Celtic and Gothic styles. The mix of Arts Nouveau and Deco is perhaps the most interesting. Art Nouveau's primary period was 1895 - 1920, Deco's 1920 - 1940 but there are tiles from around 1900 that bear the angular and regular characteristics of Art Deco (some being somewhat similar to the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh). Such Deco 'inspired' designs can be seen by Corn Bros who ceased in 1905 and Sherwin & Cotton who were bought out in 1911, well before Art Deco became a distinct style.


Many of these tiles are ones that a keen collector is fairly likely to come across but a few are exceptional. There are several examples of the same design in different colours (up to eight colour combinations) which illustrate the effect colour has on design. A wide range of colours are shown, some of which are rare, so even though many shown are in most common colours of green, brown, yellow and colourless/off-white the proportion of them herein is not as great as is or was found in the marketplace.



The tiles are shown sorted by maker, other than that they are in no particular order. Each maker's section is introduced by a few words briefly describing the company and their wares. Clicking on an image opens a larger image in a new window, clinking on tile panels opens the panels page window except for the squatter Godwin and Warick Savage panels. The three tile panels were five tiles high but the other tiles were repeats of the middle tile. There are also larger images of over 850 of the tiles, full size at 120dpi, in maximum quality JPEG format, in the Bigger Pictures folder. The compact disk is a great medium, these larger images alone would fill several large books


Around 800 tiles are identified by manufacturer including many oft seen but previously unattributed. Identification is a big subject, one that we hope to cover in a later publication. Identification is far from straightforward, many manufacturers used different back patterns, some very similar. Some designs were taken from standard design manuals and used by several companies. Some companies sub-contracted manufacture to others, some designs were plagarised or blatantly copied. You will see near identical designs by different makers. Some manufacturers merged with or took over others so the design may appear with backs relating to two different factories. Catalogues of old tiles may not be as useful as they might at first seem and backs of tiles are not the sole ingredient in identification, there are elements of design, manufacturing techniques and colours that are indictive of particular makers. Some or all of these elements contribute to the final attribution. One clear observation is that many excellent designs are by unattributed makers, our research has identified many and we are working on the rest!

An illustrated essay 'Piracy and Plagarism' is included which illustrates many examples of similar designs made by more than one company.

Inevitably there are some mistakes and new information comes to light, see the errata page.


To use this CD you need a computer with a CD drive and web browser, as you can see this page on the web you already have the computer and browser, all you need is the CD drive!

Operating Systems
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  • Mac OS 8 or greater
  • Linux
  • Any computer OS that can read a standard ISO9660 format CD
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  • Internet Exploder
  • and many more

To use the CD:

Put the disk in the drive

Locate the disk on the desktop or under My Computer

Open the disk and double-click on the item named '0-Start-Here-0' or '0-Start-Here-0.htm'


You may also open the file from within your browser or any other method of opening files that you are used to.


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Dates of Art Nouveau Tiles

I have a genuine love of Art Nouveau tiles and have done a considerable amount of research into their dates, all the reliable evidence I have seen points to a shorter period and specifically a later start date than is often stated. For good references in the established literature I point to 'The Decorated Tile' by J & B Austwick which for the most part I find to be an excellent reference book wherein the period 1898 - 1910 is suggested, other books cite from 1895 or the meaningless 'c.1890s'. As yet I have not found a pure art nouveau design predating 1899, there certainly are some designs from the preceding few years that tend towards art nouveau being a kind of blend of floral aethestic and art nouveau which I would perhaps attribute the moniker 'freeform aesthetic' to. These were predominently transfer prints as even then the technology to produce the range of colours in lead-glaze 'majolica' that is mostly associated with art nouveau was not universally available. The majority of new designs between 1897 and 1900 were still very much aesthetic floral patterns and therefore 'Victorian Art Nouveau' is almost an oxymoron. The peak years of the style were clearly from 1903 - 1907 when the vast majority of art nouveau tiles that we see in situ and around the trade and collectors were designed. I extend the period to 1914 as design trends once established take a while to fade away, a fine example of this is Godwin and Thynne, recorded as commencing in 1909 it is surely not possible that all of their art nouveau designs were produced in 1909 and 1910. Also Adams and Cartlidge, recorded as in production from 1911 - 1916, predominently made art nouveau patterns and George Cartlidge when he got so frustrated with the tile industry that he packed it in and set up his own art pottery continued making super art nouveau wares well in to the 1920s.


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