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Excellent Pair of George Cartlidge Émaux Ombrants Musicians Tiles


Style: Figural
Technique: Émaux ombrants
Designer: George Cartlidge
Manufacturer: Sherwin & Cotton
Dimensions: 6" x 12" each tile
Date: circa 1900


A rare and superb pair of tiles modelled by the famous sculptor and designer George Cartlidge. Featuring the excellent subjects of classical musicians, a violinist and a flautist. In superb condition and of excellent manufacture and signed with the artist's monogram an interlocking G & C.

Glaze pooling can be distracting with the highly translucent glazes used but these pair have just a little pooling along one edge which is hardly noticable. Raised relief is very slight, most of the detail is achieved by impressed moulding into the body of the tile also known as intaglio. The glaze colour is a wonderful honey brown which shows the detail superbly.

Émaux Ombrants is a truly difficult technique to manufacture, a literal (as possible) translation of the french gives a good clue to the complexity; "enamel shadows". Like majolica and other glazing techniques it uses the transparency of glazes to produce its effect but it is the negative transparency, the shadows, that define Émaux Ombrants. The glazes had to be highly translucent but rich in colour to give intensity and depth where pooled, and also had to be self levelling. The best use for the technique is images of nature; portraits and plants, the superior moulding and glazing gives the vision of lifelike shadows behind the subject. Unlike majolica tiles the glaze surface of an Émaux Ombrants tile is almost flat, not embossed. The effect therefore is almost magical, the surface is smooth and almost flat but the image is crisp and has great depth, rather like a modern day holograph. It is a truly inspiring technique.

These are quite the best pair of Émaux Ombrants by George Cartlidge we have seen for a long while. Not the somber politicians and military men in dark, somber glazes albeit they are outstanding works of art. Here the subjects are happy in their work, the glaze is warm and appealing, the manufacturing quality and condition is excellent. The detail is fantastic, even the bottom string on the violin is depressed where touched by the bow.

Versos embossed indistinctly Sherwin & Cotton and pattern numbers. Some light glue residue, these have never been installed but the glue probably held the backing paper for the picture frames.

Condition: Near perfect
Price: £750 (approx $937)
Ref: 01781/2


UK Special Delivery £780

EU Priority £795

US and World Priority £810

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Extremely light surface marks, slight rubbing and very slight scratches. None can be seen when the tiles are viewed normally, only when tilted to the light at an acute angle to seek them out.


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