Hans van Lemmen | Historical Tiles writing about tiles and architectural ceramics

Hans van Lemmen | Historical Tiles


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

University of London Department of Extra Mural Studies 1969-1973


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

2005-2012 Part – time lecturer WEA (Workers Educational Institute) in Leeds

2008 until now President of the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society (TACS)

2022 until now Resident at the Rosa Spier Huis community of retired artists and academics in Laren in The Netherlands


Books (sample)

1979 Tiles – A Collector’s Guide, Souvenir Press

1988 Decorative Tiles throughout the Ages, Bracken Books

1989 Tiled Furniture, Shire Publications

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, pp. 86-93

‘Bright Relief – Tiled Furniture’  in Traditional Homes, December 1988, pp. 71-76

‘Decoratively Dutch’ in Traditional Homes, June 1989, pp. 85-90

‘A Special Series of Ravesteijn Delftware Tiles Made for Export to Britain’ in Journal of the Tiles & Architectural Ceramics Society, Vol. 7 1998, pp. 19-22

‘Beauty Underfoot – the overlooked splendour of church tiles’ in The Churches Conservation Trust Annual Review, 2005-2006, pp. 24-27

‘An iconographic and iconological approach to tile analysis based on a study of the Edward the Confessor tile at Westminster Abbey in Journal of the Tiles & Architectural Ceramics Society, Vol. 12, 2006, pp. 3-8

‘Tiles to Treasure’ in The Victorian, November 2009, pp. 28-29

‘Tiles across Time’ in The British Museum Magazine, Winter 2013, pp. 50-52

‘From over-glaze to under-glaze: British transfer-printed tiles 1756-1854′ in Journal of the Tiles & Architectural Ceramics Society, Vol. 23, 2017, pp. 1-10

‘Minton’s Prosser’s Patent tiles 1840-1854′ in Journal of the Tiles & Architectural Ceramics Society, Vol. 25, 2019, pp. 8-21

‘The two-volume catalogue of Ken Beaulah’s tile collection’ in Journal of the Tiles & Architectural Ceramics Society, Vol. 28, 2022, pp. 1-10




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