Tile Collecting - a Fun, Fascinating and Fulfilling Hobby

If Ironbridge was the birthplace of the industrial revolution and Silicon Valley the centre of the information revolution then Stoke on Trent was the heart of the design revolution (with a little help from the Ironbridge Gorge too!). All over the world there are millions of antique English tiles, exported when the midlands was the hub of the world's tile industry between 1870 and 1910. All over the world there are collectors of antique English tiles too.

Ceramics have a unique place in history, they were the first decorative products to become ubiquitous. Every home has many ceramic objects and the advent of transfer printing on to earthenwares brought quality decoration and design in to every home. These bright and cheerful items brightened normally dark Victorian homes and became the epitome of style and modernity in the new middle classes, the first consumer society born from the factories of the industrial revolution. Tiles became the first purely decorative object to be incorporated in to every home, in the fireplaces, in furniture and hallways.

Tiles presented new design challenges, a standard size format yet with the ability for the design to be used as a larger scheme. Using tiles architectural decoration on a large scale became affordable for the first time in the late nineteenth century, the challenge for the designer there is making a product that will be modern in it's day yet still look good in the timescale of buildings, hundreds of years in to the future.

The tile industry was the first to truly bring together design and manufacturing, artists were employed and involved in the manufacturing processes. New manufacturing techniques were spawned in the cross-pollenation of the concentration of the industry in the English midlands brought about the rapid advances that kept the towns at the forefront of the industry for 50 years. Tile artists and designers, most of whom are unknown, have had a marked effect on the history of the world.

Much has been written about the works of William de Morgan, William Morris etc but their wares are rare and expensive, most collectors don't have any. What collectors do have is beautiful tiles that are a feast for the eye. That may be as far as it goes for some but for others there is the history, personalities, artists, materials, techniques and much more.

Much is written about some factories too, the Mintons for example, but their output was so vast there is always more to discover. I'd like to know more about G&T (not the drink, Godwin & Thynne), how come so many of their tiles made it to Australia. Gibbons Hinton, a great name and some great wares, one of a small cluster of tile works in the black country, best known for it's metal trades but a veritable hive of all kinds of craftsmanship. J & W Wade, famous for their 'whimsies' (figures) and advertising wares but also makers of fabulous tiles. George Marsden, not only an oustanding technical innovator but designer and maker of some of the most amazing tiles.


The aim of this site is to be a resource of information to lovers and collectors of English Victorian and Edwardian tiles the world over. To provide information about those unknown and perhaps not uncommon but nevertheless beautiful tiles that we all have in our collections. So whatever your interest in Victorian and Edwardian tiles, eye candy to get envious of or information on a tile in your collection we are sure there's something here for you.

'1001 Art Nouveau Tiles', is a CD containing 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 some multiple tile panels. A very wide range of colours are shown, some of which are quite rare, there are several examples of the same design in different colours (up to eight colour combinations) which illustrate the effect colour has on design.

The CD is not intended to be a guide to identifying tiles although around 80% are identified by maker including many designs attributed in a published work for the first time.

Click here for more information

Factories & Styles

Major Factories

Art Nouveau

Arts & Crafts


Brand Names

Tile Identification



Country of Origin

Design Registration


Tile Identification

Generic Back Patterns

Tube Line or Not, How to Tell the Difference

Collecting Tiles


Some Observations

Ideas for Collecting Themes

Repairing Tiles

Tile Condition

(1) Types of Marks

(2) How The Original Use Of Tiles Affects Their Condition

(3) Describing Marks

(4) Should I Buy Damaged Tiles?

Factory Faults


Weak Pressing

Underglaze Chips

Extreme Examples

Other Info


Original Tiles in Original Fireplaces

Unusual Decorative Processes


Identification and valuation services

Webmaster Information

Copyright Notice


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