Tin-glazed tiles from London looks at the rich diversity of decorative tile designs available in the capital over 400 years. It traces the use of multicoloured floor tiles from their initial importation from Spain at the beginning of the 16th century, through the switch to Low Countries imports in the mid 16th century, to their manufacture in London during the late 16th century. A century later, tin-glazed tile manufacture changed profoundly - to the production of thinner, generally blue and purple on white tiles intended for walls. Many of these wall tiles were Dutch imports, relatively few being made in London before the 18th century. Over 500 individual designs are catalogued, many on tiles in the Museum of London. Earlier, multicoloured floor tiles have a wide range of decoration, including floral and geometric patterns, and designs with flowers, fruit and animals. Landscape and biblical scenes were popular subjects on later, blue and purple on white wall tiles, along with flowers, birds, ships, military figures and mythological scenes. In London 14 tin glaze pothouses are known to have manufactured tiles alongside tin-glazed pottery. Other tiles can be linked with individual production sites in Spain, Belgium (Flanders) and the Netherlands. Over 40 locations in the Greater London area are known to have had wall tiles; these sites are listed and tiles from over 20 are illustrated.
Publisher: Museum of London Archaeology