A Brief History of the Society on its fortieth Anniversary
Ger de Ree, President of the Society of Friends of the Dutch Tile Museum - page 4
The Society of Friends of the Dutch Tile Museum was founded on 2 August 1968, two years after a Circle of Friends had formed around the privately owned Tile Museum at the home of the architect Gerrit Feenstra. Before long they started organising annual meetings in Otterlo and elsewhere, which are still the main venues for the Friends. In 1971 the first issue of Tegel (Tile) sees the light, initially a very modest Yearbook. It has developed into a platform for both amateurs and professionals to publish their articles. The Friends, in cooperation with the Museum, engage in a good deal of research. The first and foremost pioneer in this field is Jan Pluis, who has produced a stream of publications charting the history of Dutch tile culture through the centuries.
Vriendennieuws (Friends’ Newsletter) comes out twice a year and contains the latest news and information. The Friends maintain contacts with numerous sister organisations and museums abroad and since 1995 have published a six-monthly international on-line bulletin covering all exhibitions, conferences and publications concerned with tiles in Europe and the Americas. The President concludes his look back over forty years of the Friends with a plea for more attention to be devoted to twentieth-century tile culture and for a more international orientation.
Tile Finds in Zeeland II: Circle Band Tiles
Peter Hendrikse and Kitty Laméris - page 11
For the majority of tile buffs nothing can beat a fine early diamond border or circle band tile, both of which are found in the soil of the Dutch province of Zeeland. Ample reason to publish an ‘anthology’ of these finds. In Tegel 35 diamond border tiles were presented, and for the present issue a number of circle band tiles have been selected. The latter can be divided roughly into two groups: ‘cord or cable border’ circle band tiles and ordinary circle band tiles. The first group has Italian origins.
Dutch Tiles in Brazil: a culture-historical perspective
Hannedea C. van Nederveen Meerkerk - page 19
In the Convento de Santo Antônio do Recife (St. Anthony’s monastery in Recife), in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil, there are almost a thousand blue and white Dutch tiles dating from the seventeenth century, as well as about three hundred fragments. There are eighteen panels of tiles set in a frieze on the architrave surrounding the cloistergarth, which were presumably placed there during restoration work after 1696. The subjects depicted and the corner motifs comprise practically the entire seventeenth century Dutch tile repertoire. The monastery also possesses an important collection of Portuguese tile pictures with biblical scenes.
The presence of so many Dutch tiles - probably the largest group outside Europe - is understandable when one bears in mind that from 1630 to 1654 the Dutch West India Company (WIC) controlled this region. The original location of the tiles may have been Huis Vrijburgh, the residence of WIC governor Johan Maurits, Count of Nassau-Siegen. Alternatively they may have come from brick houses of wealthy merchants.
Both the Dutch and the Portuguese tiles have suffered from air pollution, salt sea-wind and rising damp and are in urgent need of conservation.
Planting the May Tree
Wilhelm Joliet - page 33
The Couven Museum in Aachen, Germany, boasts a substantial collection of predominantly Dutch tiles. This article focuses on a large tile picture that represents the ‘Planting of the May Tree’. The scene refers to the ancient custom of celebrating the arrival of Spring by planting a tree. In all probability the picture, which comprises 48 tiles, was manufactured at the Aalmis tile factory in Rotterdam around 1750, and was modelled on prints which in turn were based on drawings of the months and seasons by Claude Saint-Paul. It was not unusual for tile painters to copy details from a variety of prints in their pictures, as the article illustrates.
Applied artist Albert Smit - famous but unknown
Rob Delvigne - page 37
The American Hotel (1900-1902) on Leidseplein in Amsterdam is an architectural masterpiece of the Art Nouveau period. The building was designed by Willem Kromhout, who is also credited with the design of the tile pictures on the façades. However, they turn out to have been designed by the now almost forgotten draughtsman Albert Smit (1878-1946). From 1895 to 1899 he studied at the Rijksschool voor Kunstnijverheid (State Institute for the Applied Arts) in Amsterdam. It was possibly his instructor there, Georg Sturm, who put him in touch with the publisher of the international periodical Dekorative Vorbilder, which over the years published a number of designs by him in a typically Art Nouveau style. While at the Institute he was also active in the Lotus tile factory belonging to his (senior) fellow student Bert Nienhuis. After his studies he became an art teacher and in his spare time submitted entries to architectural competitions.
Jan Pluis: ‘There’s more to a tile than just its front.’
Portrait of the The Netherlands’ greatest tile documentalist Lejo Schenk - page 46
On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the Society of Friends of the Dutch Tile Museum, Lejo Schenk, one of the editors of Tegel, interviews the well-known tile author and specialist Jan Pluis. In company with his wife Henny, Jan talks about his younger years, his wide interests and how he became fascinated by that product of the ceramics industry, the tile. In the interview he also reveals how his standard works came to be written, including his recently published volume on twentieth-century Dutch tiles.