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Sherwin & Cotton Patent Niello Tile

• Condition: Fine
• Price: £75 (approx. $106)
• Stock number: 07214

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Three light scratches otherwise perfect


Style: Floral
• Technique: Patent Niello
Maker: Sherwin & Cotton
Dimensions: 6" x 6"
Date: 1893 (circa)


A nice floral design in earth tones with a brilliant glaze. There's a very unique sense to the finish, no doubt it could be achieved by hand but at some great cost, this is actually a very clever printing process but I'm not quite sure how it was achieved.

Mass produced wares especially decorated wares were criticised by the arts and crafts advocates and manufacturers for being too uniform yet there is a certain sameness that is required for sets of things to work and that is very expensive to achieve by hand. It is amply demonstrated by arts & crafts pottery, one sees vases and chargers, a few jugs and not a lot else. The main business in pottery is tableware, fifty, one hundred, two hundred pieces all which have to look as if they belong in the set, arts & crafts simply couldn't do it.

William de Morgan didn't really do it in tiles, most being painted to outlines the outlines being created in various ways. We know some were painted on tracing paper in Italy and shipped to Lonbdon for applying to tiles, it certainly wouldn't surprise me if he used a printed outline that would burn away in the kiln, carbon printing had already been invented. Some companies employed good artists to paint not to any form of outline but from the drawing in the pattern book, we see fabulous freehand painted tiles from Craven Dunnill, quite amazing work from the Decorative Art Tile Company, William Yale etc yet all manner of companies produced some properly painted works.

So the innovative tile companies tried to produce mass produced goods with a degree of randomness that makes every piece unique in a similar way to the slight variations that occur with stencilling, Marsden certainly tried and had a couple of printing patents that seem to have been aimed at intoriducing some variety, I am pretty sure that Maw did, Patent Niello was a printing method from Sherwin & Cotton.

Verso clear of adhesive etc, some smoke stain, embossed knot in triangle mark and England, painted pattern number.


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