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Tile pictures with a pearl border made in Antwerp

Frans Caignie

In 1944 38 tiles, all belonging to a series of tile pictures, were discovered in a pit under the cellar of the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp. The pictures have continuous pearl borders, with a band of Renaissance ornamentation on the left- and right-hand sides. A further 17 tiles of the same type are preserved in other museums and collections. The date '1607' on a tile in the Mayer van den Bergh Museum fixes the time of manufacture to the early seventeenth century. 38 tiles derive from 12 prints by Maerten de Vos and Maerten van Heemskerck depicting biblical scenes with Tobias, Jonah and Susannah. This unique collection shows that tiles of high quality were still being produced in Antwerp at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

Print and Tile

The pedlar on tiles inspired by a Cornelis Bloemaert print
Paul van de Weijer

For many centuries pedlars played an important role in commerce. They were organized as a group, employed their own system of credit and used their own jargon. Pedlars figured on prints from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, which they in turn sold, possibly to tile makers. These two exceptional tiles may both be modelled on prints by Cornelis Bloemaert (1603-1692).

Tulips on Ottoman Tiles

Hans Theunissen

This year marks the 400th anniversary of friendly relations between the Netherlands and Turkey. A special link in this relationship is formed by the tulip, which has its origins in the Ottoman Empire, where it was a symbol of God (Allah). Just as in the Netherlands, tulips were often depicted on tiles. The oldest known example can be seen on a tile picture in İstanbul in cuerda seca technique from around 1540. Shortly after this date tile manufacturers in İznik changed to the under-glaze technique. They also used new colours, such as bole red, and the painting style became more refined. The tulips were sometimes rendered in a stylized way and sometimes naturalistically. In the eighteenth century production moved to workshops in Tekfur Sarayı (İstanbul) and Kütahya, where different stylistic features and colours were developed. But the red tulip remains the symbol par excellence of Turkish culture.

Print and Tile

Tile Picture after Cornelis Troost’s ‘Vryagie’
Marten Boonstra

This nineteenth-century tile picture was painted, in all probability, around 1870 by Hendrik van Kasteel in the tile works on Lucasbolwerk in Utrecht. It was modelled on the eighteenth century print ‘Vryagie’ (Courtship - Reinier Adriaansz's declaration of love) by Jan Punt and Pieter Tanjé, after a painting by Cornelis Troost (1696 – 1750), and depicts a scene from the play Jan Klaasz of gewaande dienstmaagt (Jan Klaasz, or the supposed servant-girl) by Thomas Asselyn (1620-1701). The clothes worn by the figures were typical attire for members of the Mennonite (Baptist) community. Judging by the size of the print, this tile picture must originally have been much larger, as is also indicated by the numbering on the back of the tiles.

The tile business of A.N. de Lint and the designer Henri de Rouw

Bart Verbrugge

Dealing in tiles was a new activity among builder’s merchants in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Five generations of the De Lint family ran a business in building materials from 1835, which from around 1870 also dealt in tiles, with branches in Delft, The Hague and Rotterdam. In 1898 De Lint entered into a contract with Porceleyne Fles Pottery (currently known as Royal Delft) for the exclusive sale of its tiles and went on to play an important part in promoting the pottery's products, including sectile tile panels. Partly due to these efforts, from 1910 Porceleyne Fles Pottery recorded a higher turnover for tiles and building products than for decorative pottery. A major effort was also put into the export of products to Germany, England, the United States and the Dutch East Indies.
A little-known fact is that De Lint commissioned designs themselves. In 1922 Henri de Rouw (1882-1948), who until then had been a lecturer in architecture at Delft Polytechnic, became artistic consultant to De Lint. He was responsible for the design of tiled walls and stained-glass windows in an expressionist style that follows the Amsterdam School as well as international Art Deco. In 1922, together with H.W. Mauser of Porceleyne Fles Pottery, he designed a frequently applied new floor tile, the Mauro tile. During the Great Depression demand for architectural ceramics declined and in 1936 De Rouw emigrated to South Africa. In 1963 the firm of A.N. de Lint merged with two other builder’s merchants. This combination went bankrupt in 1970.

Tiles made by Max Laeuger in Kandern

Maarten van Veen

Max Laeuger (1864-1952) occupies a special place among German Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) tile makers. He preferred traditional craftsmanship and plastic clay to industrial production using tile presses. He recognized that the fire in the kiln has an effect on the clay and the glazes - its own ‘mysterious process’ - which makes the outcome unpredictable.

Piet Bolwerk in conversation with Tegel editor Lejo Schenk

Lejo Schenk

Piet Bolwerk, who was the first director of the Dutch Tile Museum between 1972 and 1999, was born in 1934 in Surinam, where he took his first steps on the path to becoming a museum curator. After receiving training in the Netherlands he returned to the Surinam Museum in Paramaribo. Disappointed by the colonial attitude of the museum management he decided to go back to the Netherlands. In the interview he talks about his efforts to professionalize the Dutch Tile Museum. Piet Bolwerk worked hard to save the tiles of Kareol House in Aerdenhout for the museum, and other in situ tiles threatened by demolition. In vivid detail he recounts memories of the strong-willed architect and founder of the museum Gerrit Feenstra. Piet Bolwerk regards himself as 'a late victim of colonialism', but looks back on his career in Dutch heritage with great satisfaction.