5000 Years of Tiles

5000 Years of Tiles

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A comprehensive, full-color exploration of tile art and production worldwide, from earliest times to the present day. The book is both an authoritative work of reference and a visual delight, ranging from ancient Greece, where the first fired roof tiles date from as early as the third millennium BC, to twentieth-century Mexico. Along the way we encounter stunning examples of the tiler's art: the enormous English medieval floor pavements from Byland Abbey and Clarendon Palace; figural tiles from China, intended to adorn roofs and ward off evil; the famous Iznik tiles from the Islamic world, with their richly decorative patterns; the highly stylised ceramic tiles of the Arts and Crafts movement; and the tiles created by some of the finest ceramic artists and potters of the twenty-first century.
Placing the tiles firmly in their historical and cultural context, the book highlights both continuity and diversity, the dissemination of techniques and designs, and how tile art in one time and place has inspired and rejuvenated those in others. Tiles are also studied in terms of function as well as form, and the full range of architectural and practical purposes for which they have been used - from floors to roofs, stoves to bathrooms, cathedrals to metro stations - will be explored, along with the various techniques employed to create such versatile pieces. 5000 Years of Tiles is the essential, most comprehensive single volume for anyone interested in the ceramic, decorative, and architectural arts.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 218 x 274 x 26mm | 1,359.98g
  • Smithsonian Books
  • English
  • New
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 1588343987
  • 9781588343987

About Hans Van Lemmen

HANS VAN LEMMEN is a tile historian, author, lecturer, and the current president of the Tiles and Architectural Ceramic Society. He has curated several exhibitions on tiles and is the author of numerous books including Tiles in Architecture (1993), Delftware Tiles (1997), and 700 Years of English Tiles (2010).
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Review quote

Van Lemmen (curator, historian, and president of the Tiles and Architectural Ceramic Society) has written an authoritative and fascinating book that focuses on European clay tiles, but also takes a look at Egyptian, Chinese, Islamic, and American tile history. Hundreds of color photographs of unique and mass-produced floor, wall, stove, flue, and roof tiles from numerous collections and museums illustrate the narrative that examines how tiles have influenced daily life and the economy. As new production methods (such as encaustic and dust-pressed tiles, stencils, transfer printing, and photolithography) developed, decorative tiles became more affordable and widely used. Industrialization and the Arts and Crafts movement encouraged more designers and artists to explore this artistic medium. The detailed historic scholarship is excellent, but the technical information contains several minor errors. For instance, the Chinese did not paint cobalt blue oxide onto biscuit-fired porcelain in Jingdezhen, but painted it onto bone-dry clay, then sprayed clear glaze over it before the first firing. Metric measurements and British spelling and vocabulary are used throughout. Few references are mentioned in the text, and there are no endnotes. A technical glossary is included. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general audience. --C. A. Ventura, Tennessee Technological University

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