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Rare and Early Floral Majolica Tile Godwin & Hewitt

 

• Style/technique: Floral majolica
• Manufacturer: Godwin & Hewitt of Hereford
• Dimensions: 6" x 12"
• Date: circa 1890

 

Condition: Very good
Price: £175 (approx $281)
Ref: #04100

 
UK Special Delivery £185

EU Priority £193

US and World Priority £201

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Small corner chip, several other lesser rim chips, a very very tiny surface chips and wear to relief near edges. Relatively minor marks and none too detracting for this is a truly brilliant tile.


 

 

A most excellent tile, a big and bold floral design executed in the most fabulous manner well moulded and decorated with fabulous rich glazes. This was a tremendous indeed historic achievement for the time for few if any other tile makers were producing embossed 6" x 12" and if any were unlikely in multicolour certainly I can think of none. The pattern is of a group similar 6" x 6" designs were registered in 1888 and 1889 and confirmation of similar date comes from a catalogue with several known registered designs the latest of which is from 1889. Two similar from 1888 are shown here and here.

But not only the quality of the moulding, not only the size which had tremendous manufacturing difficulties, but the glazes. Reds, pinks amongst the most difficult of colours yet Godwins got it right and seem to be the first to have done so in advance of Sherwin & Cotton (who later were 'king of the reds') and other glaze specialists like Marsden and Minton Hollins.

Godwin & Hewitt came from nowhere in terms of wall tile manufacture for no transfer printed designs are known and went straight to the top of the class with their majolica wall tiles. They maintained this position into the 1900s for another pricelist from 1905 shows their tiles the highest priced of the more popular makers more than double the price of some Boote tiles and 50% more than good quality manufacturers such as Richards and Barratt.

12" x 6" tiles, in either orientation, have not really captured the attention of collectors no doubt in some part because they are few in number. Whilst the size and shape is perfect for certain applications and far preferable to spreading a design over two tile there were technical difficulties in manufacture, having examined numerous examples uneven shrinkage especially warping along the long axis was common. Little used for walls or furniture they were mostly found as centrepieces in fireplace panels and also framed as works of art especially figural designs from Sherwin & Cotton and Craven Dunnill. They were very expensive tiles in their day, whilst no price lists have been found singling them out it can be deduced from pricelists of fireplace panels that they were in the order of four times the price of a regular 6" x 6' tile.

Verso very clean, plain bars, unmarked.


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.

The image is full size at 72 dpi (about 430 pixels wide) in maximum quality JPEG format. Customers may request a larger 120 dpi image also in maximum quality JPEG format for closer inspection which will be sent by email.

 

 

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