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A gymnastics tile from Makkum

Jan Pluis

In 1886 Tichelaar in Makkum produced tile depicting gymnastic exercises. A number of these tiles now decorate the façade of a gym in Leeuwarden (Friesland). The painter of all the 65 tiles was Eit Wijkstra (1851-1905). The words on one of the tiles, now in the collection of the Dutch Tile Museum in Otterlo, refer to the official song of the Royal Dutch Gymnastics Association. Eight of the original designs for the tiles have been preserved.

Two tile pictures of De Arkduif mill
Nicolas Verhulst
These tile pictures depicting a mill come from De Arkduif mill in Zwammerdam. After their restoration they will be placed back there. The construction of this mill can be dated to 1697, as is shown on the tile pictures, which were most probably manufactured in Rotterdam round 1750.

Judith Révész and the elephant

Dik Doesberg

Judith Révész was born in Hungary in 1915 and emigrated with her parents tot the Netherlands in 1920. She enrolled at the Academy of Applied Art (IVKNO) in Amsterdam, but soon decided to study ceramics at an academy in Budapest. One of her teachers there was the sculptor Marc Vedres. She returned to Amsterdam and in 1938 was commissioned te make a tile frieze for the front of a furniture shop on Vijzelstraat in Amsterdam. in 1960-1961 she designed a large ceramic picture with a colourful elephant for the outside wall of the holiday residence of the Dutch Royal Family, ‘L’elefante felice’ in Porto Ercole, Italy. Following the sale of the villa the future of the ceramic relief picture is uncertain.

Print and Tile

An unusual seventeenth-century bible tile 
Wilfried Willekes

The representation on the tile, which dates from c. 1640, can be traced back to part of a fifteenth-century fresco by Masaccio in a chapel in Florence. The story is told in Matthew 17: 24-27: Jesus orders the apostle Peter to comply with the demand of an official to pay tribute. The first fish that he catches will have a piece of silver in its mouth, which he is to give to the tax collector.

Georg Sturm, designer and collaborator with Pierre Cuypers

Rob Delvigne

Georg Sturm (Vienna 1855 – Wageningen 1923) started to teach at the National Academy of Applied Art in Amsterdam in 1882. The academy was housed in the Rijksmuseum, which was then under construction and was to be richly decorated with tile pictures. Sturm designed the tiles on the exterior walls and the murals inside, in close cooperation with architect P.J.H. Cuypers. The historical scenes were rendered in the modern style of the time: decorative and two-dimensional.
The tile pictures on the front of the museum depict figures bearing the shields of the principal towns in the Netherlands associated with art. The shield-bearer became a popular motif on tiles and pictures at the end of the nineteenth century. Sturm had a hand in many prestigious projects at this time, including Central Station in Amsterdam, of which again Cuypers was the architect. The design of the embroidery work in the Dutch Coronation Coach (1898) is also by Sturm.

Tile pictures in the Madre de Deus church, Lisbon

Ana Anjos Mantua and João Pedro Monteiro

The Portuguese Museu Nacional do Azulejo (National Tile Museum) is situated in the former Madre de Deus convent in Lisbon. The attached sixteenth-century church is decorated with Dutch tile pictures, most of which are attributed to the Amsterdam tile maker Jan van Oort, though the younger Willem van der Kloet is credited with some of them. As there was a ban on importing Dutch tiles into Portugal from 1687 to 1698, these tile pictures have always been thought to date from after 1698. However, a recently discovered document of 1686 mentions payment being made for these expensive tiles by Luís Correia da Paz, legal representative of the Brazilian Chamber of Commerce. The bulk of the tiles must therefore have been delivered by 1686.
Despite initial appearances it turns out that the tile pictures convey a message, depending partly on their original location in the church. Those in the nave, where the lay people congregated, refer to the vocation to the religious life contrasting this with the path of worldly pleasures. The meaning of others derives from their position next to an altar (now removed) or near the door of the church, or from their being visible only to the priest standing at the high altar.
Following the abolition of all religious orders in 1834, the church was restored and thoroughly remodelled by the architect José Maria Nepomuceno. This included the removal and relocation of many of the Dutch tile pictures. Gaps were filled in at the end of the nineteenth century in a style that imitates the original seventeenth-century tiles.

Lejo Schenk meets the German tile expert Wilhelm Joliet

Lejo Schenk

As a specialist in tiling techniques, Joliet became involved in restoration projects on tiles in two castles in Brühl, near Cologne. During this work in Falkenlust and Augustusburg Joliet carried out extensive research into the history of Rotterdam tile production. He confirmed that the eighteenth-century tiles in Brühl are products of the Aalmis factory. The interview mentions some of the specific problems the restorers met with, and Joliet also talks about his life and fascinations. Wilhelm Joliet has published a wide range of articles and books on Dutch and other tiles in situ throughout Europe. He has furthermore developed two specialized websites. In recent years his attention has been refocusing on the tile heritage of his home country.

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