An American in Wexford, Antiques, Decor, Genealogy, Ireland, Tiles, Travel, Whimsey


I have recently embarked on the genealogy DNA searches.  I got my results back from 23 and Me just recently, and I did get some unexpected results.  I did confirm my roots are from Ireland and Great Britain.  Years ago I went to Ireland to locate my grandmother, Delia Ryan’s, birth records to obtain Irish citizenship under this unique Irish program.


My own personal genealogy search has been very complicated, and I spent years and years breaking through research brick walls.  I can follow most my dad’s family in Offaly and Athlone, Westmeath back to the 1800s.  My mother’s family is more complicated: part from England, part from Ireland,  with the complication of untraceable birth records for two main characters.

In my travels to Ireland for over ten years now, I met a great family and eventually met my partner, John.  So we have many Irish art pieces in our homes in Ireland and Ohio.  One item we have is unique: ceramic tiles taken from old cast iron fireplaces in Ireland. At one time, John had an antique and fireplace shop in Dublin.  All our tiles are from his work on antique fireplaces.  These antiques are mainly from the early 1900s to late 1890s.

In the Victorian times, the reform culture began.  The industrial revolution spurred on the cleaning up of the slums areas in large cities to make room to build large homes for the middle class.  The remaining slums remained to house the poor. It would take into the 1920s before the elite began humanitarian work in those slum areas.

Time-saving devices and more industry resulted in more available monies for people to show off their position and wealth. Social climbing became a highly motivated concern of the period.

The most noted businessman, Herbert Minton saw an opportunity to provide decorative items for these homes.  He built a large pottery in Stoke On Trent and made tiles. Tiles for the floor, tiles for walls, tiles for fireplaces.  He sought out famous artists to design tiles that were unique and beautiful for the Victorian homeowner to possess as a status symbol.  In time hundreds of potters join him in the production of these art forms in a place called Stoke-on Trent, outside London. Minton became one of the most coveted and famous potters of the times. His works are still considered the epitome of antiques.

There are hundreds of styles and patterns from this period: art & crafts, art nouveau, gothic, geometric, and solids,  just to name a few. John had kept mainly the art nouveau majolica glaze type tile.  We find them to be the prettiest in design and color glazes.

Right now we are offering some of our tiles for sale so that you can have a little bit of Ireland in our home. The Victorian tile, while an antique, adapts to all home decor styles.  Of course, the restored old mansions, but also they look gorgeous in modern settings, farmhouse, country, and traditional settings.  The unique status of old heat cracking of the tile- tiny surface cracks and soot staining speak to the age and authenticity of these tiles.

This gorgeous framed green and mahogany tile set consists of three beautiful majolica art nouveau floral tiles with mahogany and green spacer pieces.  We have placed three antique silver spoon handles to hold keys, candles, dried floral bouquets or just as themselves.  Craven Dunnill Pottery made these tiles.  Craven Dunnill & Co. Ltd was formed on 9 February 1872, by Yorkshire businessman Henry Powell Dunnill (1821–95), at Jackfield, Shropshire, England. The firm was to become one of Britain’s leading producers of ceramic tiles. WIKI

I located this specific tile at a highly regarded tile research company in England called Tile Heaven.  You can see they give a manufacturer name and date, type of tile and cost for the tile listed on their site.  Based on this, our tiles were made about 1905 and are quite expensive for today’s collector or buyer.  This one tile they list for over $100.00

I want to emphasize the brilliance of the green in this tile.  The Victorians did like to make these unicolor pattern tiles for the fireplace surrounds as part of the decor of a room.

We also offer a framed mono-color tile set in a rich coffee color.  These three tiles are also separated by two spacer tiles. These are marked by JB. and framed in a rustic pine frame.


Both sets are available for sale.  We also have some single tiles that are framed in a gold frame but can be placed in a frame of your choice. Here are some examples of our tiles


We even frame cast iron sections of the old fireplaces

Enjoy my little bit of Ireland here today.  If you want to look into your genealogy, especially your Irish-American genealogy, contact me, happy to help

Thanks for reading my post

talk soon


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