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Pre-Raphaelite Japanesque Tile


Condition: Very good
Price: £80 (approx $125)
Ref: #02928

UK Special Delivery £88

EU Priority £92

US and World Priority £96

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Minute rim chips, light scratches lost in the roses right side. Visible marks are manufacturing flaws, the line in the print right side and the extraneous smudges of white clay.

 

• Style/technique: Pictorial print
• Manufacturer: Steele & Wood*
• Dimensions: 6" x 6"
• Date: circa 1882

 

An excellent work of art with a pre-raphaelite picture of a naked young native woman paddling a canoe and set against a japanesque ground with asymmetric floral elements. Printed in dark blue on olive drab clay body.

This is rather below par for Steele & Wood in terms of manufacturing quality, super quality artwork and engraving but a flaw in the print the line near the right edge in the roses. More noticable are the spots of white clay which rather detract but are interesting for the insight that they give in to manufacturing difficulties of the times. Floor tile specialists seem to have had little problem with different colours of clay as widely used in geometric pavements and floors, wall tile specialists a different story. Mintons Ltd seem to have brought their buff clay tiles in from Campbell, Wedgwood sage clay tiles clearly are from a different supplier to their white clay, Sherwin & Cotton gave up with their sage clay tiles around the time they retooled for their patent locks. Clearly we see here the problems of contamination of one colour of clay with another, this was probably more of a problem with white clay tiles having dust from other colours embeded should cleaning up not be pedantically executed. Usually such flawed tiles would have been scrapped so it is rather a mystery how it came to be decorated.

Steele & Wood competed very much with Mintons Ltd in the range of their tiles as with Mintons mostly mechanically decorated litho prints, block prints and monochrome majolica. Steele & Wood's tiles of equal or better quality to those of Mintons, more diverse colours and techniques in their printing, and at a more affordable price. One of a pair and in my experience the other tile is seen quite dramatically more frequently indeed recently I saw a photo of a fireplace with ten of them.

Steele & Wood tiles are often incorrectly attributed to Wedgwood due to the similarity of their rail grip patterns although they are clearly different once one knows. The decorating quality especially of pictorial prints by Steele & Wood is superior to those of Wedgwood. They are also at times wrongly attributed to Mintons Ltd by virtue of the grid grip pattern although this occurs much less frequently.

Verso perfectly clean unmarked eight rail grip pattern.

* I have been researching Steele & Wood for several years and am confident about most things however there is another little recorded company called Jackson Brothers tile manufacturers in similar time frame, it is possible that there is confusion between these two companies. Austwick shows this tile and they say by Mintons and also by Steele & Wood, which I believe Mintons to be in error for Steele & Wood also used a plain grid grip pattern easily confused with the similar Mintons Ltd grip pattern. Austwick's picture is reversed (mirror image) to this and others I have recorded.

 

The image is full size at 72 dpi (about 430 pixels wide) in maximum quality JPEG format and on screen is about the size as it would be in real life at the same distance. A larger 120 dpi image also in maximum quality JPEG format can be forwarded by email if required.

The image is a little oversize rather than cropped close to the edges so that the edges can easily be seen and any chips etc can be quickly spotted. Other marks described are usually not visible at all when the tile is viewed straight as one normally sees it and can only be seen with a critical eye when the tile is tilted to catch imperfections in reflected light. For more details of how we describe marks see Condition.

 

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