Museum of London Ceramics and Glass Collection Museum of London Ceramics and Glass Collection Ceramics Glass

Decorative tiles

In the early medieval period tiles were largely used in religious establishments - churches and monastaries. The tiles were handmade, moulded to give a design, and glazed. The tiles were very thick, as they were used as floor rather than wall tiles.

Ceramic tiles were also used to line stoves designed to heat the rooms of large houses. These stoves were a status symbol, and the tiles that covered them were therefore highly decorated. The tiles show human and animal figures, floral designs, and also the crests or initials of the house owner. They were usually glazed with a green glaze.

From the end of the sixteenth century, tin-glazed wall tiles were being produced. The tin glaze gave an opaque white colour, which could be painted with a variety of bright colours, although chiefly blue. The tiles were sometimes painted to give larger panels, making up a large picture. Individual tiles frequently feature biblical scenes.

Featured types

Medieval floor tiles (1066 - 1485)
Stove tiles (1500 - 1700)
Tin-glazed tiles (1570 - 1850)

Related objects

There are 327 related objects.

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P232 tile; tegula.
Roman

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2001.61/12 tile.
Late Medieval; 14th century

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84.8/1 tile.
Medieval; 13th-14th century

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NN13078f tile.
1881-1920

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NN13078e tile.
1881-1920

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NN13078d tile.
1881-1920

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NN13078c tile.
1881-1920

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NN13078b tile.
1881-1920

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NN13078a tile.
1881-1920

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L146/53 tile; delft tile.
1726-1766

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NN15813 tile.
1901-2000

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NN15812 tile.
1901-2000

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NN15811 tile.
1901-2000

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NN15810 tile.
1901-2000

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26122 tile.
1545-1570

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24004 tile.
1571-1615

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16024 tile.
1566-1635

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16022 tile.
1571-1615

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13475 tile.
1571-1615

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11930 tile.
1570-1650

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11757c tile.
1571-1615

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Z3382 tile.
1636-1665

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26107 tile; terracotta? tile.
1501-1800

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23576 tile.
1801-1900?

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