Antiques, Ireland, Whimsey


When I first saw John’s antique fireplace tiles, I was impressed with the colors and pretty pictures, but I knew absolutely nothing about them.  He called them Victorian, I’m not sure I really knew what that meant.  As a born and raised American, I knew about Queen Victoria but more in an English history context. Design and Art wasn’t part of my thinking about Victoria.  So I began to educate myself.

As I looked into antiques more, I began to learn about eras of style and decor, architecture. Not just old wood furniture.  It would take a lifetime of learning to just glean a little of what is there is to learn…It’civilisationon really. I can share a  little of what I read, helps to know a bit about the history of an antique to appreciate the item.

Art Nouveau is an international style of art, architecture and applied art, especially the decorative arts, that was most popular between 1890 and 1910. Wikipedia

It encompasses the Victorian Era…basically the later part. Named after Queen Victoria, it was the time of great love affairs, romance, pastel colors, flowy lines, flowers.  Roccoco.  You can see the long flowing style in the art posters of the day, women in long flowing gowns and hair and you cab see it in most of our tiles.  The arts and crafts movement [ mid 1800s] was also seen in the early part of art nouveau and similarly featured element of nature.

After the Victorian and before the Art Deco movement, you have the Edwardian style which began in England a response to Victoria death. !901 to about 1910 it was a less ornate style and used elements from ealier times.

Art Deco, Art Decoratiff,  began 1920. Art Deco, sometimes referred to as Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before World War I. Art Deco influenced the design of buildings, furniture, … Wikipedia.

Art Deco is characterized by symetrical linear shapes and lines with intermittant placements of  curved elements.  But the style strives for a monolythetic structure.  Like the Chrysler building.  Art Deco was a bit of a response to WWII.  The pretty flowng details of art nouveau were replaced by more linear, industrial looks.  It is the style of the roaring twenties in the USA.  A perfect example of all USA things art decor can be seen in the movie The Great Gatsby.  You can see the geometrics in the design on this movie poster.

When I was growing up there was a bar in NYC- it may have been at Longchamps, I’m not sure, but there was a beautiful art deco glass and chrome bar there.  I found another in Akron, Ohio years ago near the baseball stadium.  The neat thing about art deco today is that it looks modern!

If you are interested in learning about these styles in furniture and design houzz has a great article

Most of our antiques tiles are ART NOUVEAU styled and made in England in the late 1890s to early 1900s. Gorgeous flowing petals and lines.  Bright bold colors and glazes. Majolica- a type of glazing that allows for deep rich bright colors.


I think I like the Art Nouveau style because it reminds me of one of my favorite period dramas, Downton Abby.  You know the owners of that castle have a blog I subcribe to. Anyway, this gorgeous piece of Victorian jewelry would have been seen at the Downton Abby dinner table. Double swags with a drop jewel train. I had to look up what they meant by swag in this piece of jewelry. Swag is described as a hanging droop. So you can see the swag coming off the two pearl and amethyst jewels on the side.

Now, look at this 1898 Victorian tile below. Remind you of anything?
I love this tile! You can see the swags and the fine gold chain of the pendant. This tile has been framed as wall art but the tile could be removed and placed anywhere. The tile was in an old fireplace in Dublin, Ireland and you can see the fine crackling the heat caused in the tile…truly a one of a kind piece. The picture doesn’t capture the fine lines or the element of the side pieces…
At #redesignantiquesstudio we are always on the lookout for unique, special items. We don’t think you would find this tile anywhere else!  We are lucky enough to have three of these.

All our Art Nouveau tiles are over 100 years old.  I posted some on Instagram the other day and got a much bigger response that expected. In fact, a young Euopean artiist inquired as to where I found them and she knew they were art nouveau. Recently I found out there is a big following for art deco and art nouveau…..but bigger for Art Nouveau! Just google the term art nouveau blogs!

Here are some samples of this style in tiles

I would suggest that one on these tiles in a frame, or propped on a wall shelf woul dmake a lovely addition to a room but imaging what a wall  placement of 4 or more..definitely a style statement. Look at our Instagram page for a sample

Well time to go,  great talking with you. As always I welcome your comments. Talk soon


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