Beautiful fireplace tile designs have enchanted us for centuries and con-
tinue to be faithfully reproduced in the same painstaking manner as the originals that inspired them. As an important architectural element -- generally the focal point of a room -- the fireplace has served as an ide-
al canvas for tile artisans to showcase their colorful and often magnifi-
Antique Art Nouveau Tile from Belgium, ca. 1910
Frequently reflecting various aspects of the time and region in which they were produced, decorative tiles
were infused with historic imagery and mo-
tifs, artistic trends, popular themes, stories and events related to the na-
tive cultures of the artisans who cre-
ated them. That tradition continues today, thanks to the tireless efforts
of a dedicated group of designers
and manufacturers around the world committed to preserving their cultur-
al legacies by reproducing some of
the outstanding creations of their im-
mensely talented forebears.
For example, the Victorian era pro-
duced a number of outstanding de-
signers whose vast range of works
are as popular today as they were back then. People such as William Morris (1834-1896) -- one of the founding fathers of the Arts & Crafts Movement in England. His close friend, William de Morgan (1839-1917), was one of Britain's most talented pottery and tile designers. Popular Victorian-
era designs manufactured by 19th century tileworks such as Minton Hol-
lis in England are, once again, being faithfully reproduced today.
Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939), though born in Morovia, became famous in 1890's Paris as an illustrator
and artist in the
Art Nouveau style. Many of his designs are currently being repro-
duced in the form of exquisite fire-
place tiles, such as those pictured at right from Historic Style (historicstyle
.com) in Canada. The five tile sets
flanking the Victorian cast iron fire-
place grate pictured below are also
from Historic Style.
Art Nouveau Lily and Berry Tile Set in Brown from Historic Style
One of the leading designers and creators of Arts and Crafts tiles in Amer-
ica was Ernest Batchelder (1875- 1957), whose tileworks produced beau-
tifully hand-crafted art tiles from 1912 to 1932. Distinguished by their warm, muted colors, design quality, and variety of timeless pictorial themes, Batchelder tiles are being reproduced today using many of the same time-honored techniques and materials employed by Batchelder, himself.
The following examples include historically accurate reproductions, as well as tiles in the style of those
originally created by Ernest Batchelder. The hand-
wrought individuality and soft, natural tones make
them equally suited for period and modern fireplace
designs. Their subtle, unglazed, and earthy sur-
faces flow with warmth and craftsmanship.
Just as beautiful -- albeit with a much different look -- are the following tile reproductions, the first two (top row) of which are Edwardian arched fireplace surrounds popular in England. The brilliant sheen and striking variations in shading and tone are achieved with a special process in which the tiles are hand dipped in glaze and fired at different angles in the kiln to recreate an authentic look. When framed by a beautifully finished wood mantel, the result is absolutely stunning!
Art Deco Movement produced some new and exciting fireplace tile designs which are also being reproduced today. The designs of the two
examples below, manufactured in England, were inspired by the skyscraper
. . . . . a new building type coming into its own during that period.
Moving, geographically, to another part of the world, the colorful talavera tiles pictured below are made in Mexico. Talavera goes back to the 16th century in Mexico when it was introduced by the Spaniards. The Old World antecedents of these hand-painted designs are closely related to the California art tiles of the 1930s.
Please click here to see more Spanish-inspired fireplace tile designs.
Switching geographic regions, yet again, the beautiful Turkish tiles pictured below are part of a rich
historical legacy dating back several centuries. After the Islamic conquest of Persia, colored and often
painted glazed tiles became an important el-
ement in Persian architecture, and from there spread to much of the Is-
lamic world, notably the Ýznik pot-
tery of Turkey under the Ottoman Empire in the 16th and 17th centur-
Palaces, public buildings, & mosques (right) were heavily decorated with dense, often massive patterns and friezes of astonishing complexity, in-
cluding geometric patterns and cal-
ligraphy, as well as floral motifs such as those shown in the examples be-
low. These and similar patterns con-
tinue to be reproduced today . . . not only in Turkey, but in a number of
other countries that also border the
Mediterranean, including Tunisia and
In addition to the reproduction and creation of traditionally styled fireplace tile designs, new designs, materials and looks are continually being created and showcased at special events held annually around the world. The unique designs that follow . . . jewel-like prism glass tiles on the left . . . small mosaic squares enveloping a cylindrically-shaped fireplace on the right . . . and larger, but sleek Italian tiles on the contemporary surround below . . . are but a sampling of newer looks for fireplace tile designs . . . . . and, perhaps, just a hint at fresh and exciting designs yet to come!
Please check back often or subscribe to our
RSS feed, as we fre-
quently add new fireplace tile designs to our site.
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