Medieval times, rich in mythology and romanticism, have long captured our imaginations. Ruins of castles and other majestic structures dot the hilltops of modern Europe, reminders of their storied past. In the medieval buildings left standing, we can catch a glimpse of these stories and the beautiful architectural details that graced them.
Tiles in medieval Europe were a luxury, enjoyed by those who could afford them. Patronage for medieval tile makers came from the church and clergy, the aristocracy, and well-to-do merchants. The subject matter was simple: the ever-popular fleur de lis, floral motifs, heraldic emblems, and religious themes. Animals were imbued with symbolism; a lion, for example, embodied courage, power, and resurrection.
Tilemakers often etched or inlaid these distinct tiles designs into wet clay. Mosaics, raised low relief, sunken counter-relief, and line-impressed designs are also found in medieval buildings across Europe.
For our Castles and Abbeys collection, we have gathered tile designs from European castles, abbeys, and cathedrals and re-crafted them for today’s home. We will provide details of the origins and inspirations of each tile design in this collection, allowing you to know and to share your floor’s story.
Castles and Abbeys Preview
This tile design originates from the elegant twelfth-century tiles found in the Chapelle de Saint Cucaphas in Saint-Denis, Paris. On the original, the classic quatrefoil motif, a design representing a flower or leaf with four leaflets, has been inlaid into the larger square and painted black and warm yellow to create a dramatic contrast. We have reproduced this timeless tile design on 6″ square tiles and etched the quatrefoil into its surface. We then set the quatrefoil design apart with sprinkled manganese to create a subtly contrasting black and earth-toned mosaic.
Rievaulx Abbey Scrolls
These etched squares interlock to create an understated pattern of leafed foliage and scrolls, borrowed from 13th century inlaid tiles found at the Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire, UK. The Gothic stiff leaf motif created by the repeating pattern was popular in early English ornamental work and remains an attractive choice for the modern home. Our Rievaulx Abbey Scrolls are line-impressed on 6″ tiles and fired in our gas kiln, giving the floor tiles a graceful design and rich color variation.
Watch for more tile designs from the Castles and Abbeys collection, coming soon. The Castles and Abbeys collection tiles will be available for sale starting this fall. Call to pre-order samples and to receive more information.