Moulded from earthenware clay, this tile has been decorated with a curvilinear relief design of three stylised tulip buds branching from a single stem. A labour intensive method of producing this effect entailed piping liquid clay (slip) onto the unfired surface of a tile. However, the low-relief lines of this tile were cheaply produced using a plaster mould.
A bright combination of lilac, ochre and blue-coloured glazes bring the design to life. The raised outline of the design has created cells that contain the runny lead glazes and prevent them from mixing together in the kiln. Tube-lined tile designs were popular at the turn of the twentieth century and frequently display the nature-inspired motifs that were characteristic of Art Nouveau.
The graphic qualities of tube-lined tiles reveal the influence of eye-catching chromolithographs on architectural ceramics. Illustrators Alphonse Mucha and John Hassall similarly used bold lines to enclose areas of flat colour in their print designs.
The tile was probably manufactured in England around 1905, and entered the Art Nouveau collection of Sir Colin Anderson in 1964.
Vanessa Tothill, March 2021
Amaya, Mario, Art Nouveau (London: Dutton Vista, 1966)
Geitner, Amanda and Emma Hazell, ed., The Anderson Collection of Art Nouveau (Norwich: Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, 2003)
Greenhalgh, Paul, ed., Art Nouveau, 1890-1914 (London: V&A Publications, 2000)
Greenhalgh, Paul, ed., The Nature of Dreams: England and the Formation of Art Nouveau (Norwich: Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, 2020)