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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


Human figures

Some delightful figurative drawings can be seen in the archive (e.g. A019 and A020), some portray garments in great detail, a few Saints are also depicted.

Animal, bird or fish motifs

The earliest animal to be depicted on decorative tiles was the lion - a powerful symbol. Fabulous monsters such as the griffin with the head, wings, claws of an eagle, originated in the Near East, where winged creatures navigate into the middle and upper worlds (e.g. O128). Paired animals and birds, some with bilateral symmetrical design, often separated by the tree of life, were favoured by tilers working in Wessex, two animals or birds back to back are derived from Islamic iconography (e.g. A143).

Horse and rider with falconKnight slaying the dragonGrotesques, half animal half human are found on four patterned tiles and everyday life such as pastimes are illustrated. Hunting with hounds and falconry were sport for the elite. Dragons large and small were popular and myths abounded as to the slaying of dragons.

Left: Horse and rider with falcon
Right: Knight slaying the dragon
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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/25-aug-2004

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