English Tile in Cast Iron Fireplace

English ceramic tile set in cast iron fireplace insert from the late Victorian period. The Victorians loved elaborate patterning, much of it drawn from the landmark publication of Owen Jones’ Grammar of Ornament in 1856. These tiles, produced with a lightly embossed pattern of Art Nouveau floral design elements, are a good example from c. 1900.

The British potteries that produced ceramic tiles shipped them all over the globe, with millions of pieces shipped to the US and used in American homes. These tiles were shipped to northwest India and used in a new palace built by the Maharaja of Bikaner, in the Great Indian Desert. His architect was English and many features of the palace were imported. Similar examples can be found in the United States.

Historic ceramic tile and cast iron fireplace inserts are covered in detail in Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners.

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Bookstores can order copies from W.W. Norton.

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