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The Collections:

The Parker-Hore Archive Collection of Watercolours of Paving-tiles
held in Worcester and in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford


The study of architectural ceramics


Manufacture and location

Initially the designers of the great pavements in England may have been trained as metalworkers, employed at court. During the thirteenth century a new craftworker emerged in England, Wales and Scotland - the tiler.

Most of the evidence for the making of medieval tiles comes from archaeological sources, tilers are rarely mentioned in historic documents. Medieval paving tilers, like their fellow craftsmen, the potters, required clay and a supply of sand, water and fuel - usually peat, brushwood or loppings from the lower branches of trees from the King's great medieval forests.

H503d - Man at work, perhaps a tiler digging clayTilers might be employed to work on the site of a building, such as Clarendon Palace in Wiltshire, for the duration of the building work. The tilers would then move on to a new site where they built a new kiln and tested the local clay for its suitably to make tiles. By the 14th century rural tile manufactories specialised in mass-production and tiles were distributed large distances to supply new building projects.

Mrs Irene Hore was interested in the processes of manufacture, she measured tiles and recorded the thickness of the tiles, but the technical processes are not set out in the archive. Early relief and counter relief tiles are described in East Anglia and the north west of England but it is not possible to establish whether the decorative motifs on the two colour tiles were inlaid or `printed'. The use of inlaid decoration was without precedent in antiquity.

Image: Man at work, perhaps a tiler digging clay
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Copyright of this digital resource will be held jointly by
the Ashmolean Museum, Worcester City Museum & Art Gallery and by the Worcestershire Archaeological Society.
Copyright of the original drawings is held by
the Ashmolean Museum and by the Worcestershire Archaeological Society respectively.

last updated: jcm/7-jun-2004

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