Sunday, January 15, 2017

Salvaged Sunday: Antique Tile

By Gretchen Sawatzki

Saving wood floors, trim, doors, windows, and light fixtures may seem like the most obvious of choice when salvaging historic house parts from a historic home, but what most fail to remember are the decorative items that are worth salvaging including antique tile.

Antique Minton, Hollins, and Co. fireplace tile, circa 1880.
Photo by Hannah Manning for Materials Unlimited.

The most decorative antique tile in an old home can be found as a part of the fireplace surround. For homeowners who could afford the luxury of tile, the most decorative would have been displayed in the area of the home where visitors would be entertained. In the Victorian Era and into the period leading up to WWII, this room would have been the parlor.
Backside of Minton, Hollins, and Co. fireplace tile. P
hoto by Hannah Manning for Materials Unlimited.

Tiles for the surround had a number of designs and motifs. Floral designs, animals, hunting scenes and nautical imagery were some of the most preferred. For the wealthy, uncommon designs would include handmade tiles from famous domestic studios including Rookwood, Pewabic, and Batchelder, to name a few. For those with an more worldly taste, Dutch Delft tiles, Majolica tiles from Spain, and Minton tiles of England were the preference.

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