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Arts & Crafts Painted Tile Godwin & Hewitt

• Condition: Perfect
• Price: £495 (approx. $581)
• Ref: 03236B

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Style: Arts & crafts
• Technique: Glaze painted
• Maker: Godwin & Hewitt
• Dimensions: 6" x 6"
• Date: 1900 (circa)



A fabulous arts & crafts tile, entirely hand decorated on a hand made biscuit and of totally exceptional quality throughout. Fabulously handpainted in a good range of brilliant glaze colours on the best handmade biscuit I have ever seen. Six glaze colours (at least) and fully handpainted. This are very rare, very difficult to manufacture, very expensive to manufacture tiles so rare that even the most enthusiastic collector may never have seen its like.

When viewing images on a screen they all look similar in as much as screens emit light whereas objects reflect light the differences in quality of the surface are therefore misrepresented or not apparent at all. For example it is difficult to see the difference between a translucent glaze and an opaque glaze onscreen. The image on screen is static, when viewing an object in the hand one naturally moves position a little (of oneself or the object) thuse gaining perspective and adding to the viewing pleasure, onscreen shifting position will not add to the visual input if anything will detract as most screens image reproduction capabilities diminish when viewed at an angle.

Due to the limitations of onscreen viewing we automatically make assumptions, we compare the image to similar objects that we have seen in real life and make our judgment. These tiles can produce an immediate like de Morgan' reaction due to the full design and its free interpretation however Wm de Morgan & Co never produced any tiles by this technique, put these amongst a collection of de Morgan tiles and they will shine out for rather than being underglaze painted and covered with a flat glaze these are hand painted in glazes which is a tremendously difficult technique and requires incredible technical as well as artistic skills.

Very few tile makers decorated in hand painted glazes it was the most demanding of techniques. Glazes of course melt in the kiln and run together at times forming an unsightly mess hence the popularity of cloisonné, other moulding effects and tubeline techniques to keep the glazes separate. All conditions had to be perfect to produce glaze painted tiles, the materials technology of the glazes, the skill of the artist, the skill of the kilnmaster. Such tiles were amongst the most expensive of all around the turn of the century.

Glaze colours tended to run in to each other and so the range of colours used for this and similar techniques is limited by the qualities of the glazes. Usually limited to earth colours these tiles have a great range from the blue background, at least two greens, two golden browns and pink. With all the colours in the glazes which are highly translucent they look even better in direct light, in sunlight they are totally amazing, I am sure they would have looked nearly as brilliant in firelight.

Few companies are recorded as using the glaze painting technique, Maw & Co., Sherwin & Cotton, Craven Dunnill, Richards, Marsden and Wedgwood the latter apparently whilst associated with Marsden. Most use a transfer printed outline rather than the hand painted outline used here, of course many companies glaze painted with moulded, tubelined or slip-trailed outlines. One of the first reactions is "William de Morgan" yet these tiles surpass many of the attributes of de Morgan tiles. De Morgan never painted in glazes, far too difficult, the company painted underglaze often using transfers, the biscuit is of high quality fireclay.

Verso completely plain save for number in pencil indicating the position on the slab. A very high quality fireclay, exceptional in my experience, finely ground and without the lumpy grog associated with fireclay tiles.

[1] Catleugh reports de Morgan painting on to transfer papers page 142.
[2] Barnard reports de Morgan transfers were painted in Italy on page 122.



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