Tiles and architectural ceramics have been a part of architecture ever since the first buildings of brick and stone were erected. The different techniques by which it has been made, the great variety of uses to which it has been put, and the wealth of ways in which it has been decorated make for a fascinating and intriguing history.
The uses of tiles and architectural ceramics have been governed by both their practical and decorative appeal. It provides a surface that is hard wearing, hygienic, fire retardant, waterproof and easy to clean. The decoration of tiles and architectural ceramics has been equally diverse, with single images, entire pictorial scenes, emblematic devices as well as abstract patterns and designs.
This website intends to introduce the visitor to some of the aspects of the rich history of tiles and architectural ceramics, not only to actual colourful examples but also to information such as publications on the subject, technical terminology and tiles in museum collections.
This website is maintained by Hans van Lemmen who is a free-lance tile historian, author and lecturer specialising in the history of medieval tiles, Coade stone, Dutch and English Delftware tiles, Victorian tiles and Art Nouveau and Art Deco tiles. He is the President and Honorary Life Member of the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society. He undertakes lectures on the history of tiles to antique circles and other interested organisations and groups. If you want him to come and speak leave a message on the Contact Me page.
Hans van Lemmen
Academie Artibus, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1963-1967
Dundee College of Education, Scotland, 1967-1968
1968-1974 Art Teacher in Dundee, Scotland
1974-1976 Lecturer in Art, Leeds and Carnegie College of Education
1976-1999 Lecturer in Art and Design History at Leeds Polytechnic and Leeds Metropolitan University
1999-current Free lance writer and lecturer on the history of tiles and part – time lecturer WEA (Workers Educational Institute)
1979 Tiles – A Collector’s Guide, Souvenir Press
1988 Decorative Tiles throughout the Ages, Bracken Books
1993 Tiles in Architecture, Laurence King Publishing
1997 Delftware Tiles, Laurence King Publishing
2000 Victorian Tiles, Shire Publications
2000 Medieval Tiles, Shire Publications
2002 Architectural Ceramics, Shire Publications
2003 Ceramic Roofware, Shire Publications
2006 Coade Stone, Shire Publications
2008 Art Nouveau Tiles, Shire Publications
2012 Art Deco Tiles, Shire Publications
2013 5000 Years of Tiles, British Museum Press
Magazine articles (sample)
‘Art Nouveau Tiling’ in Ceramics – The International Journal of Ceramics and Glass, July/August 1986
‘Decoratively Dutch’ in Traditional Homes, June 1989
‘A Special Series of Ravesteijn Delftware Tiles Made for Export to Britain’ in Journal of the Tiles & Architectural Ceramics Society, Vol. 7 1998
‘Beauty Underfoot – the overlooked splendour of church tiles’ in The Churches Conservation Trust Annual Review, 2005-2006
‘Tiles to Treasure’ in The Victorian, November 2009
‘Tiles across Time’ in The British Museum Magazine, Winter 2013