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Fabulous Rare Pair of Art Nouveau Tiles George Marsden

  • Style: Art nouveau
  • Technique: Embossed majolica
  • Manufacturer: Marsden Tile Co
  • Dimensions: 6" x 6"
  • Date: 1902 (design registered)

A rare and excellent pair of art nouveau tiles the design filling the tile and bold in every way. Fabulous movement with intricacy and subtlety, wildly asymmetric, bright natural colours with a nice pink cheekily emerging from within the petals, super tiles. Rare for such bold designs are rare, handed pairs are rare, and rare because never seen except for one lot. We bought three pairs of these together from a fireplace quite a few years ago having never seen them before and now since. Most unfortunate that they are so rare but one can understand why for whilst such bold designs appeal to collectors almost inevitably for installing the decision is shared and agreement on such pomposity in decoration is difficult to achieve.

Handed pairs of tiles are rare especially in majolica, mostly handpainted tiles occur but also a few prints, I find it surprising as some of the wildly asymmetric tiles would I believe have sold much better if paired, I think of some from Richards in particular. A pair makes the vision whole for symmetry is desirable a trait that seems to have developed from the symmetry of faces and is widely represented in pure design as we see in most art nouveau tiles. Many tile designs, especially printed tiles, are set from the corner so that they may be arranged as handed either side of the fireplace so it was known as a desiable feature but few justifies the extra expense of pattern making. Only Mintons Ltd in their few years of excellence in majolica tile making prior to the turn of the century, Meakin and Marsden as far as I can recall made any handed pairs of moulded majolica tiles. Marsden had previously made stencilled pairs and it is even more surprising that other's examples are rare with the process the set up cost of making the pattern was the lowest.

There were however great technical difficulties in making tools for the manufacture of pairs, today we may easily reverse an image on the computer and send it to the engraving or moulding machine but in those days making the tool demanded great skills of the artist/engineer. Even tube lined tiles are rarely found in handed pairs in this case the artist will produce different lines according to the hand, to best make pairs of patterns ambidexterity is almost a requirement. Any significant deviation between the pair is very easy to see, even more than that it stands out and jars. Customers in showrooms will pick up a pair and hold them together even if they are to be displayed a foot or two away either side of a fireplace, perhaps this may explain why a higher proportion of tile panels are paired, they are too cumbersome to be held in the hand.

So these are a fabulous and rare pair of tiles, a triumph of the blend of the design and technical prowess much loved by appreciators of art nouveau tiles.

Versos very clean, no maker's mark as usual for Marsden, pattern number rubber stamped.


• Condition: Excellent
• Price: £365 (approx $565)
• Ref: #03735C

UK Special Delivery £375

EU Priority £379

US and World Priority £383

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Shallow chip upper left edge, slight wear to corners and a little roughness/minute chips to the rim, one minute mark to the outline otherwise perfect surface.

• Condition: Excellent
• Price: £385 (approx $596)
• Ref: #03735D

UK Special Delivery £610

EU Priority £614

US and World Priority £618

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Slight chipping bottom right corner, other minute chips/roughness to the rim, four very tiny > minute surface chips.


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