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Print and Tile: Restoration of a Tile Picture of a Naval Battle

Michiel Overhoff

In 2014 a large tile picture from the collection of the Koninklijk Oudheidkundig Genootschap (Royal Antiquarian Society), which was on loan to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, was taken down from an interior wall and restored by the author, among others. It comprises 260 tiles, is nearly seven metres wide and depicts a naval battle flanked by two lions. Until 1879 this tile picture adorned the façade of 4-8 Tweede Boomdwarsstraat in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam. The application of seventeenth-century tiles on a façade in the Netherlands is exceptional. It is often assumed that the tile maker Haye Esdré, who was the owner of the house around 1640, placed the tile picture there as his business sign. During the restoration process it became clear that the lion pictures are probably more recent and that the central depiction of the naval battle in fact consists of three separate pictures. This discovery makes it plausible that the pictures were joined together and applied on the façade at a later date, and casts doubt on the attribution to Haye Esdré as their maker. The tile picture has now been placed in the Gemeenlandshuis (historic seat of the district water board) on Diemerzeedijk in Amsterdam.

Print and Tile: The Bird of Paradise

Jan Pluis

Birds of paradise with their gorgeous plumage have fired the imagination for centuries. Europeans knew only the stuffed specimen, without legs and bones, and until 1824 thought that the bird of paradise was always on the wing. In his Bird Book in Latin of 1555 and later editions in German, the Swiss naturalist Conrad Gesner (1516-1565) published a woodcut of the stuffed bird, which served as the model for a tile.

Print and Tile: Street Cries Frozen in Time

Johan Kamermans


Depictions of people going about their daily activities are among the charming subjects of seventeenth-century tiles. Although they are often associated with genre paintings and series of prints from the Dutch Golden Age, in actual practice it is less easy than expected to find the model that a tile depiction is based on. A woodblock and woodcut presumably dating from the seventeenth century, which were in the possession of the Van der Haeghen printers’ family in Ghent around the middle of the nineteenth century, show 36 street-traders. 25 of these correspond to figures found on tiles. This seems to indicate that popular prints - such as those meant for children and referred to in this article, early examples of which are extremely rare - formed an important source for tile painters, besides graphic art, which is much better known.

Kiln Bookkeeping

Marten Boonstra


In 2011 in Franeker (province of Friesland) a 'tally tile' was found. This type of tile bears on its back a record of the number of tiles of a certain design that were all fired at the same time. This particular tile, dated 8 July 1739 and from Harlingen or Makkum, is special in that all fourteen designs in the kiln were recorded on it and the total number of tiles adds up to nearly twelve thousand. The article shows twelve of these designs, excluding the 'jongsteen' design (which is unknown) and the plain white tiles.

Dutch Tiles in the Levant

Hans Theunissen

Dutch tiles spread within Islamic culture from 1740 till the beginning of the nineteenth century. They were an essential element in a regional variant of the international baroque-rococo style. Use of Dutch tiles in Middle-Eastern interiors reflects both the age-old preference for tiles as a decorative feature in Islamic culture and intercultural contacts that were increasing in the eighteenth century.

The Ottoman court played a major role in the application of Dutch tiles, especially in Istanbul and Cairo. Furthermore, it was particularly Ottoman-Armenian merchants and their networks that led to the spread of Dutch tiles in the eastern part of the Mediterranean. In Algeria, too, Dutch tiles were a favourite form of interior decoration.
The high status and great popularity of these tiles had a strong influence on local art. Imitations of Dutch tiles were made for the Ottoman court in Kütahya towards the end of the eighteenth century, while in Syria and Ethiopia interiors were decorated with painted copies of Dutch tiles. Dutch tiles have thus left a permanent mark on the Islamic and Christian cultures of Turkey, the Middle East and Africa.

Italian Floor Tiles as Models for Dutch Wall Tiles

Jan Pluis

Around 1890 tile works in Utrecht and Harlingen introduced a new tile decor: 'Italian circles', based on three different Italian tiles from the Renaissance. These were illustrated in a book by Moritz Meurer, Italienische Majolika-Fliesen (Berlin 1881). Publications of this kind demonstrated the growing interest in tiles from other countries and periods, and were also intended to provide models for producers at that time.

Tile Pattern ‘Marble with Fleur-de-lis’ by Tjallingii

Jan Pluis

Towards the end of the nineteenth century Tjallingii Pottery in Harlingen produced their new pattern ‘marble decor with fleur-de-lis’ in various colour combinations, which were sometimes combined in an application.

A Turbulent Auction and Key Works by C.A. Lion Cachet

Friggo Visser

On 7 December 2015 the forced auction took place of the collection of the former Art Studio Goedewaagen-Distel, which was on extended loan to the Goedewaagen Ceramics Museum in Nieuw-Buinen. Coordinated action by many Friends of this Museum resulted in saving a good deal of the collection for Nieuw-Buinen. The Foundation of Friends of the Dutch Tile Museum linked up with them and by mutual agreement acquired ten lots which are now on long-term loan to their Tile Museum. The multi-talented artist Lion Cachet (1864-1945), who carried out exuberant experiments with ceramics, designed two important tile pictures from the collection. The first one, done in score-cut technique, is a test piece for a large tile picture of a view of Venice, which in 1926 was installed on the MS P.C. Hooft, plying between Holland and the Dutch East Indies. The second picture, carried out in the new ‘Akanthus’ technique, depicts colourful cranes, and was presumably intended for a ship of the Java-China-Japan Line. Lion Cachet was strongly influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement. He made graphic art, experimented with batik, designed book bindings, furniture and tapestries. Although he designed a large series of decors for ornamental earthenware by Distel and Goedewaagen and over a hundred tile pictures, he deemed the other art forms more important.

Wim van de Loo: From Instrument Maker to Entrepreneur and Self-made Ceramicist

‘You must teach the clay to obey the will of your hands’
Lejo Schenk

In this interview with Tile editor Lejo Schenk, Wim van de Loo (1931) talks about his childhood, the war and his life as entrepreneur, ceramicist and collector. Wim and his wife Suus took over the retail glass and china business HOYNG-Jungerhans in Eindhoven, which put him in touch with many artists and manufacturers in the pottery industry. He has built up a collection of earthenware from his native city of Utrecht and carried out historical research. At the same time he developed into an accomplished designer and painter of ornamental and consumer earthenware, especially in tin glaze.

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