The Gabrielli Family and their Maiolica Tiled Floor in Santa Maria del Riposo
Maarten van Veen en Mark van Veen
In the years 1502-1503 the noble Gabrielli family had a splendid maiolica tiled floor installed in their church of Santa Maria del Riposo, in Fano (Italy), in honour of the marriage of Ludovico Gabrielli to Margherita Samperoli. Unfortunately, the floor is no longer in situ. The authors present the history of the church and lifestyle of the Gabrielli, and also describe the search for the tiles, which became dispersed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
They make grateful use of the work by Claudio Giardini (ed.) Immagini dai Piattelletti, published in 2008, which gives an account of the multidisciplinary research carried out on the tiles. An attempt is also made to reconstruct the floor, based on recovered tiles.
The purchase of the tile in illustration 1 by one of the authors in 2013 formed the starting point for the present article. How this tile from Fano ended up in The Netherlands is still an unsolved mystery. The authors appeal to readers to inform them if they find any of these tiles.
New Discoveries concerning Jan van Oort's Tile Works
The Amsterdam tile manufacturer Jan van Oort (1645-1699) played a major role in the export of Dutch tile pictures to Portugal and other countries, as signed and (recently) ascribed pieces indicate. Several new archival discoveries have added to the sparse historical facts known about him. In 1669 Jan, supported by his father, was given permission to start up a new pottery in the urban expansion area around what is now Rembrandt Square. A complete reading of their letter of request provides new information about the father and son's ambitions and helps to determine with more certainty the site of the new factory. The Portuguese embargo on foreign tiles and earthenware (1687, lifted for Dutch tiles in 1698) appears to have had a much more limited effect on Dutch tile factories than hitherto assumed, given the casual reference to it in the diplomatic messages sent to The Hague by the Dutch representative in Lisbon, and the lack of any reaction by the Dutch government.
Print and Tile: Tiles Depicting a Buffoon and other Chinese Figures
In the spring of 1975 the author, his friend and his younger brother were digging for buried treasure on the site where a small seventeenth-century house, to the east of Groningen city centre, had been demolished. There they found hundreds of tile fragments depicting Chinese figures in purple. Now, 35 years on, the author describes this find.
Searching the internet for tiles with the same designs and painted in the same manner led to the collections of the Dutch Tile Museum in Otterlo, the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, amongst others. No tiles of this type, still in their original context, are known.
Some depictions were derived from copper engravings in the books that draughtsman Johan Nieuhof wrote about his travels in China, such as An embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, etc. (Amsterdam 1665). So this series of tiles with Chinese figures must date from after 1665. Some of the tiles in Otterlo will be slightly later. Where these tiles were produced is unknown.
Designs by Schillemans’ Tile Works in Utrecht, 1856-1893
In the latter half of the nineteenth century Utrecht boasted two tile works, Ravesteijn Bros. and Schillemans’ family firm, which was situated next to the former country estate of Rotsenburg. Our view of Utrecht tile designs has so far been determined mainly by Ravesteijn Bros. products. Following research in some dozens of farms to the north-east of Utrecht, Schillemans’ marketing area, the latter’s range of designs has now been mapped out, too. Characteristics of these tiles and tile pictures with Biblical scenes, animals, flowerpots, landscapes and ornamental decors are shown in this article. Furthermore, Schillemans produced many special tile designs for the Neo-Gothic Roman Catholic churches by the architect Alfred Tepe.
Coat-hook tiles in schools
Many nursery and primary schools in the 1920s and 1930s were built in the Amsterdam School style of architecture. The corridors next to the classrooms were decorated with some thirty to forty tiles with a simple, recognizable picture: predominantly animals, but also objects found in the home, buildings and well-known flowers. Near each tile was a hook for children to hang their coats on.
This article offers a survey of the thirteen different tile series for schools found so far, which were produced by six factories.
Hans van Lemmen, Dutch Tile Specialist on British Soil
‘I have shown the English and the Scots their own tile heritage’
Tegel editor Lejo Schenk interviews Hans van Lemmen (1946) and his wife Patsy. Dutchman Hans van Lemmen settled in Great Britain in 1967 and became interested in British industrial tiles. His interest eventually covered all facets of the tile and architectural ceramics. He collected privately and for museums, curated exhibitions and published books on tiles, including numerous concise introductions in the Shire series. A recent highpoint is his world history of tiles for the British Museum in London. From its very beginning he was largely responsible for the success of TACS, the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society in Britain, founded in 1981. He is particularly interested in the development of production techniques and the origins of the industrial tile. By way of conclusion there is a discussion about the differences between British and Dutch culture.