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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



Mosaic flooring was popular in antiquity and Cosmati pavements of porphyry, marble and glass were popular in the Mediterranean basin in the twelfth century. Some still survive in situ in Britain, as at Canterbury Cathedral, Kent laid out c. 1200 AD and at Westminster Abbey, London laid by Italian craftsmen in 1268 AD.

Interior - Feasting in January, on a tiled floor, dated to c. 1440 ADEarthenware floor and wall tiles are known in tenth and eleventh century contexts in Britain, but the fashion for tiling floors did not begin in earnest before the thirteenth century. Decorated inlaid tiles were first used in royal palaces, hunting lodges and monastic buildings. Henry III (1216 - 1272 AD) and his second wife, Eleanor of Provence, were great patrons of the Arts and decorated paving tile pavements became fashionable during their reign. Later decorative tiles were widely adopted by cathedrals, parish churches and some merchants even decorated the interiors of their homes with this practical but decorative flooring as early as the fourteenth century.

The dating given to the tiles in the Parker-Hore Collection in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries must be treated with care. Recent archaeological work has often shown that the dates are not correct. For example, the tiles from Caen in France were believed to be Norman in origin but are in reality late thirteenth - early fourteenth century, at least a century later than originally dated.

Image: Feasting in January, on a tiled floor, dated to c. 1440 AD
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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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