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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



Fragment of Persian silk textile with fleur-de-lys motif in the Treasury of Aachen Cathedral. 6th century ADSilk was used in the service of the Church and the State. The oldest surviving Byzantine silk textiles include motifs inspired by earlier Persian designs. The pearl roundels and fleur-de-lys were later adopted by medieval craftsmen. Imported from the East, these easily portable Byzantine textiles were used in western churches as altar hangings, and as shrouds in the tombs of Kings and high ranking churchmen. Other figured textiles were imported from Spain, a technique brought to Spain by the Islamic invaders in the seventh century. These textile designs often translated very easily to the flat floor tiles being made on the Continent which then entered the repertoire of the English tilers.

The colours favoured by the silk culture in the Byzantine Empire were yellow on red, and gold on a red ground similar to honey coloured glaze over white inlay on a red clay matrix favoured by the medieval tilers in Britain. In France the inlay was sometimes the reverse - an iron rich red clay inlay on a white clay matrix.

Inlaid tiles were introduced into Britain as a fully developed technique. The original designs used by medieval paving tilers in Britain were initially the work of craftsmen working in other crafts. Metalwork was a highly developed art form by the twelfth century when the great Romanesque monuments were under construction throughout Europe. The inspiration for the motifs on the medieval paving tiles was drawn from textiles, metalwork, architectural designs and everyday life.

Image: Fragment of Persian silk textile with fleur-de-lys motif and pearl roundels
in the Treasury of Aachen Cathedral. 6th century 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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