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Rare Process Aesthetic Foliate Tile


Condition: Near perfect
Price: £45 (approx $72)
Stock number: 03510

UK Special Delivery £53

EU Airsure £57

US and World Airsure £62

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'Chip' bottom left corner is a manufacturing flaw, surface is virtually perfect.


• Style/technique: Floral stencilled**
• Manufacturer: Geo Wooliscroft & Son
• Pattern number: 298DF
• Dimensions: 6" x 6"
• Date: design registered 1884


An excellent and uncommon example of this rarely found decorating process a flowing aesthetic foliate design within a border. Rich almost royal blue ground and bright foliage makes quite a statement. Believed made by Geo Woolliscroft and Son for Derwent Foundry of Derby whose branding it bears.

This technique is often described as aerography, a confusing term mostly used and described in dictionaries as study of the atmosphere but in these instance used as a rather fanciful name for the widely understood process of airbrushing. It was apparently used almost exclusively by George Wooliscroft & Sons and on their tiles made for Derwent Foundry Co of Derby.

However we believe that 'aerography' is a misunderstanding, given the technology available at the time, its cost and the relative cost of labour we believe this is a more hand work process, on close inspection of numerous examples it appears that the colours were applied to transfer paper by sponging through stencils. The effect is soft as is achieved by sponging, the decoration on some examples has flaws indicative of stencils such as elongated smudges and also has signs of transfer printing such as creases in the transfer paper. The logical conclusion is that the design was stencilled on to transfer paper. It should be noted that decorating on to transfer paper which was then applied to the tile blank was more widely used than is generally understood, many of the 'handpainted' William de Morgan & Co tiles were painted on to transfer paper with the assistance of an outline and so more accurately may be described as traced and coloured, de Morgan even imported transfers that were decorated in Italy.

One interesting quality of the technique is that fewer colours were applied than appear on the finished product, the lighter green is a combination of the blue and the yellow, the darker blue of blue and brown. The process is a fascinating example of 19thC ingenuity surprisingly almost exclusive to Wooliscroft although an example by Maw & Co has been noted (which is unsurprising as Maws used more decorating processes than any other company). The lack of competitors using the same process suggests that it was difficult to achieve good results.

Verso very clean apart from some rust stain, printed pattern number and design registration number.


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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