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Rare Precious Metals Aesthetic Japonesque Tiles


Condition: Near perfect
Price: £480 (approx $740)
Ref: #03786

UK Special Delivery £488

EU Priority £492

US and World Priority £496

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One very tiny and three minute rim chips, decoration very nearly flawless.


 

• Style/technique: Pictorial hand painted
• Manufacturer: Mintons Ltd
• Dimensions: 6" x 6"
• Date: circa 1880

 

These are really rare tiles, aesthetic japonesque waterscapes of cranes feeding and bamboo growing on islands, wonderfully free hand painted with a black outline and coloured with gold, platinum and rhodium. Austwicks report that Mintons employed two japanese artists around 1880 and this may be their work, certainly captures the feel of japanese art rather than an anglicised version, really superb sensitive artwork..

Probably from a series of twelve, all have the same pattern number (Mintons Ltd used one number per series/colourway) others have seen decorated in colour which were probably tinted prints but it's been a while and I can't recall. These precious metal tiles are certainly hand painted, no evidence or possibility of a print with the sensitivity of the gilt lines little more than a hair's breadth. The pattern number has the 'S' prefix which is rare and which I have only seen on freehand painted tiles by established artists for example Antoine Boullemeir and likely stands for 'special'.

Platinum of course has the metallic appearance of silver, the catalogue descibes similarly decorated tiles as gold and silver but silver would oxidise in the atmosphere. Platinum hadn't found many uses in the late 19thC, a by product of the refining of then useful metals like copper and nickel it was probably relatively inexpensive compared to nowadays. It was pretty much unheard of and of course customers seeing the effect would say silver and so it was called.

Gilding is usually burnished as decoration, it is left unburnished on things like urn handles but when used to fill in prints or painted decorations it is usually burnished with agate tools. That only works as filling in because without the reflected light it looses it's appeal, slender burnished gilt lines disappear. So this platinum and gold is unburnished that the artwork may be seen and yet still catches the light with brilliance, a kind of silky shine rather than bright metallic shine of polished metal. Quite unique really. And lets not forget the rhodium red, like dragon red, rich and alive it is a fabulous colour.

These precious metals are rare in nature and so are highly priced, chemically quite inert they are often used as jewellery. They, especially gold, are not so hardwearing particularly when compared to glaze which is essentially glass or molten sand which is so hard that it is used as abrasive material (sandblasting, glasspaper) so the decoration on such tiles is often subject to wear but these are in fine or better condition. The tile biscuit and glazing is excellent too, some minute glazing flaws but these would not have been considered flaws at the time for otherwise they would not have been used for such exclusive tiles, they are first quality. A very rare group of tiles.


Condition: Very fine
Price: £380 (approx $586)
Ref: #03787

UK Special Delivery £388

EU Priority £392

US and World Priority £396

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Half a dozen minute rim chips, the fine gilt lines of the background hills and ripples on the water worn towards the left side.



Condition: Near perfect
Price: £495 (approx $763)
Ref: #03788

UK Special Delivery £503

EU Priority £507

US and World Priority £511

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A solitary minute chip left edge.



Condition: Near perfect
Price: £485 (approx $748)
Ref: #03790

UK Special Delivery £493

EU Priority £497

US and World Priority £501

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Four minute rim chips, some slight touches of wear to the fine gilt lines of the background hills and ripples on the water towards the left side.


 

How the decoration catches the light.

 

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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