Saturday, 7 December 2019

Out on the Tiles - Visiting The Jackfield Tile Museum


This year's birthday adventure took us to Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, a World Heritage Site and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Our mission? To experience tile heaven at the Jackfield Tile Museum. 




Jackfield is housed within the premises of Craven Dunnill, a working tile factory which still produces decorative tiles on-site. The museum showcases the British decorative tile industry between 1840 to 1960, the era when Craven Dunnill and neighbours Maw & Co were the biggest names in the business. Some of the tiles in my collection (and indeed now gracing our bathroom sink) were made by Craven Dunnill and Maw & Co.


Jackfield is one of the oldest known ceramic production centres in Shropshire, believed to date back to the sixteenth century.




Craven Dunnill gave up their premises at Jackfield in 1950 moving to the nearby town of Bridgnorth (where we visited with Ann & Jos in the summer HERE) and the buildings were used by a company making iron and bronze castings. In 1983 with the aid of an Architectural Heritage Fund grant the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust purchased the site. In 1989 tile manufacture restarted at Jackfield and in 2001 Craven Dunnill took over the business. 





In 2014 eighty-year old Londoner John Scott donated his collection to Jackfield. He'd been collecting antique tiles since the 1960s and had amassed over 1,500 including those by prestigious makers such as Christopher Dresser, Pugin and William de Morgan . At his home John had displayed his collection on walls and shelves and the museum decided to showcase the donations in a similar way. The museum is unable to display the Scott Collection in its entirety and the collection is regularly rotated.


Jackfield's galleries are an antique tile lover's paradise. The museum has rescued tiles from disused or modernised buildings throughout the UK and faithfully recreated the premises they once adorned. These Covent Garden tiles greeted Victorian commuters on the London Underground.


A Victorian butcher's shop.


A 19th Century church interior.


A 1930s sitting room.


A Victorian pub (there used to be loads of bars like this in Walsall when I first started frequenting drinking establishments in the 1980s!)



And a public lavatory to die for!



These friezes once graced the walls of a London children's hospital in the 1930s.


The museum's collection are clearly labelled by both period and style and are displayed in the beautifully light room in which the tiles were originally produced.



I love those duck egg blues from the Art Deco era.


  But my heart belonged to the stunning Arts & Crafts ceramics produced by William de Morgan and distributed by William Morris.



This series of tiles were designed by Salvador Dali.








The John Scott collection is breathtaking. 


Pride of place is Antelope by William de Morgan (c.1880), a panel of forty two six inch tiles, rescued from a once grand house in London that had fallen into disrepair. Scott commissioned an expert to recreate the broken tiles and the result is spectacular. The museum displayed it as John Scott had done, above the fireplace in his living room.


These tiles are John Scott's top ten favourites from his collection. I'm not surprised, just look at these colours!




After drooling over the exhibits we left Jackfield for a stroll around Ironbridge. Thankfully we'd had our colour fix in the tile museum as the landscape was distinctly grey yesterday. Below is the famous Iron Bridge, from which the town gets its name. It was opened on New Year's Day in 1781.


 After a through drenching we made the half-hour journey home to dry off. Last night was spent in the traditional birthday fashion with friends, beer and a curry. I didn't take my camera out with me but luckily a local photographer spotted us and asked if he could take a photo of the Lizs and I for the Walsall Facebook page.


Fifty-three is looking good so far!

Jackfield Tile Museum
 Salthouse Road, Telford TF8 7LJ

Open daily 11am till 5pm (closed Mondays)

76 comments:

  1. You have so many cool places to visit within your home base. I am completely jealous of this one. I'm especially fond of all things Morris. All so beautiful!

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    1. We're really lucky living slap bang in the middle of the UK like we do, so many great places are easily accessible.

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  2. They are wonderful Vix. I hope you managed to achieve a good night out on the tiles too to celebrate!!
    Arilx

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  3. Those buttoned slashed sleeves on your dress are fantastic!!
    I'm glad you had a lovely birthday. The tiles look beautiful, I love how they've set them out to look like the original places they were saved from. There isn't much like that surviving where I live, but I love admiring the original tiles when I'm in London in some of the older underground stations and some of the loos in original shops and museums. Really highlights how bland and sterile modern stuff is nowadays.

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    1. Thank you - it was the sleeves I first fell for until I spotted the insane print!
      The tile museum is absolutely amazing. I loved the Metro Tiles you used to see on the older underground stations. The Convent Garden sign must have cheered up so mnay weary commuters over the years. x

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  4. We've wanted to visit the Jackfield Tile Museum for years, and after seeing your photos of the stunning exhibits, it has definitely been put on the agenda for June 2020. I can imagine you had a hard time tearing yourself away and that you were itching to take some of them back to Walsall. What a contrast that photo of Ironbridge is. We didn't visit it on a sunny day, but this is something else entirely. That photo of you and the Liz's is absolutely fabulous. Seems you did celebrate in colourful style! xxx

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    1. You'll be in Jackfield for hours - the gift shop and tile seconds shop are pretty impressive, too! xxx

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  5. It's like story telling-each tile, but also as they are put together. Very interesting.

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  6. Jackfield Tile Museum looks like a great place to visit. I love that it is placed in a tile factory that still produces tiles. How cool is that! A tile making production that dates back to 16th century is mighty impressive too. It must be wonderful being at a place with so much history. Your outfit is very stylish too. You always look fab!

    I just love looking at tiles and I find that I'm especially drawn to art deco looking ones. This museum has such a wonderful collection, so many beautiful designs to feast one's eyes on...both individual tiles and pieces. I think the ones that caught my eyes the most are the ones designed by S. Dali. I didn't even know he designed tiles. Love the last photo. 53 is looking absolutely beautiful. I'm happy to hear you had a lovely birthday. A great way to celebrate.

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    1. It's a fabulous place, all the more special for being attached to a working factory, keeping the tradition alive. x

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  7. Look at you all with that amazing black hair! Everyone looks fabulous.

    I would love to visit this museum. Each tile is a piece of art. It makes me long for our old fireplace mantle when we lived on Vancouver Island. It was tiled in forest green and specialty tiles. I was horrified to learned they had gone in and destroyed it all to put up modern condominiums.

    Enjoy the last of your birthday weekend : )

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. Oh my god, they destroyed that fireplace? There's no hope for humanity and their constant question for modernisation and minimalism, is there? I'm glad I rescued the fireplace tiles from my parental home although, knowing me, it'll take 30 years to utilise them! x

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  8. Happy birthday hun, those tiles are amazing. I remember going to ironbridge with school when i was a child. X

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    1. Thanks Dawn! Hope you had a fab birthday! x

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  9. That is going on my list of places to visit for sure.

    Happy Birthday for yesterday.
    Hugs-x-

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    1. There's so much to see and do in Ironbridge, a brilliant place!

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  10. What a magnificent bathroom! I am fawning over all the beautiful tiles.

    Happy birthday! It looks like you had a great time with your friends. I love the photo with you and the two Liz’s - enough wonderful colour to rival the tile museum. X

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    1. Thanks, Jess! I loved that bathroom, too! x

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  11. beautiful tiles. I love the peacock ones the best. Happy Birthday!

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    1. Peacocks and tiles, two of my favourite things!

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  12. Happy birthday! what a lovely way to spend your birthday and it looks such an interesting place. I like the butchers shop tiling the best. Looking forward to seeing how your bathroom makeover/tiling turns out with all this inspiration and influence to work from!

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    1. Thanks, Betty! I remember a local fishmongers that was very similar to the butcher's shop although the tank of live eels always used to scare the life out of me! x

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  13. my dad used to have a row of Victorian tiles on the top shelf of his shed , i squirelled them away when he died , theyre still here hidden i used to use them as coasters. Somehow theyve never been sold in the bad times

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    1. Your dad had great taste - some things are far to precious to sell no matter how broke you are. x

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  14. Oh look at them all, the colours! the patterns! What a lovely place to visit.
    xx

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  15. Bless John Scott, his eye for beauty, his wisdom in making room in his home -- and budget -- for those tiles, and his generosity in donating them for public view. That juxtaposition of the iron bridge landscape with the tiles does much to explain the enduring attraction of the tiles. (My vote is for the panels in the public lavatory. They'd look well in my private loo.)

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    1. Wasn't he a generous (and heartbreakingly honest) chap? x

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  16. OH.MY.GAWD.
    So much drop dead gorgeousness in one post!

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  17. Wow, what a beautiful collection. I can't recall if you've ever been to Portugal but if not you should go. Lisbon has lovely old buildings still covered in tiles from the 13-19th century. Such magnificent tilers

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    1. I went to Portugal in the 1980s but I'd love to go back. the Portuguese introduced tile making to Goa and there's some amazing tiled buildings and workshops in and around the colonial towns. x

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  18. Happy birthday! Well, I think I've missed a trick not going to the Jackfield tile museum before, it looks amazing, I think we'll be having a trip there when the weather's nicer!

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    1. Thanks, Susie! You need to go, it was utterly fascinating. They even run tile making workshops for kids (and big kids!)

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  19. Happy Birthday
    As an aside just wanted to let you know that we have visited cotton cottage in Margao and told them we came on your recommendation, hope you don’t mind but gave your blog details to them. Cannot believe we bought 18 beautiful items including dresses, shirts, kurtas in the most wonderful colours and prints. Thank you for letting us know. Best wishes Sallyann

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    1. Hello Sallyann! I'm thrilled that you loved Cottage Cottage as much as we do, can you believe the quality, choice and prices? If only we had shops like that here! 18 items? I hope you've left something for us to buy next month! Lovely to hear from you! x

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  20. How absolutely spectacular those tiles (all of them) are! I had no idea there was a tile museum and it's a place I'd love to visit. Thank you for sharing it otherwise i'd probably never have known of its existence.

    It sounds like a fab way to spend your birthday and I love the photo of you three gorgeous ladies!

    Have a great week.
    xxx

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    1. Ironbridge would be a brilliant destination for a weekend away, apart from some good walking, independent shops and pubs and stunning scenery there's absolutely loads of museums and attractions. x

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  21. What a fabulous way to spend your birthday. It’s certainly somewhere I would love to visit.
    You gals look beautiful xxx

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    1. Thanks, darling! It was a fab day from start to finish! x

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  22. Happy Birthday, Vix! What a fun way to spend it, visiting that tile museum. I spent ages just drooling over all the beautiful colours and tiles. How amazing! Your head must have been full of them!

    Wishing you a year of peace, joy and good times!

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! It was such a fascinating day out. So much colour and beauty! x

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  23. fantastic museum! i have a heart for antique tiles too - we have bought a lot lately for our entrance floor - from the trift barn - late wilhelminic cement tiles....
    your gorgeous dress suits the site perfectly - and i looove the photo of your 3!!! happy b-day wishes!
    xxxxx

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    1. I can't wait to see the tiles you've bought for your entrance hall! x

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  24. Happy birthday!! I had no idea there was a tile museum, I have now added it to my list of places to go! I'm always taking photos of tiles wherever I go, we have lots of lovely tiled doorways in Cardiff's Victorian houses, and there was a pub in London (The Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch) I went to not long ago that had the most amazing tiled bar.

    You look fabulous in your outfit, you should be featured on a tile!

    xx

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    1. I'm a sucker for a vintage tile - I've planned adventures around tiles! A lot of the terraced houses around here have the most exquisite tiled hallways and porches, I suppose it was because Minton were only up the road.
      You'd love Ironbridge - Blists Hill is very similar to The Black Country Museum, which I know you enjoyed! x

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  25. I thought Mr John Scott's comment about why he began collecting the tiles was very brave of him. I hope that he found some consolation in his beautiful collection and that his loneliness wasn't too severe. There is an exhibition on in Edinburgh at the moment of May Morris's (daughter of William)exploring her life and work which I hope to get to if I ever get out of the Xmas quagmire that I seem to be slipping into as if it were quicksand.

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    1. I thought the same about John Scott's comment. What a lovely man donating his collection of old friends like that, made me like him all the more.
      I bet the May Morris exhibition will be fascinating, well worth braving the weather and the silly season madness! x

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  26. Meghan said, Happy Birthday!!! May each day of the year be a Special Gift!!!

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  27. Happy birthday!! Gorgeous pic of you with your friends!!! Those tiles are just wonderful---

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  28. Happy Birthday lovely Vix!!! Hope you had a super day- it certainly looks it! That tile museu is fascinating! What a glorious collection- nice to see them in situ, not just separate tiles too!

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  29. The tile museum looks right up my street, the colours, patterns and glazes are just superb. Wonderful that the collector donated his collection so they can be preserved and displayed. The displays of them as they would have been are so interesting, hard to pick a favourite. I loved the Dali tiles , take me back to his house and museum in Spain.
    Happy Birthday , glad to see you celebrate in style, yes 53 is looking good.xx

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    1. It was such a wonderful museum, I wanted to make off with most of the exhibits!
      Ah, The Dali Museum, went there in the 1980s - loved the Dali tiles, I had no idea he'd designed any.

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  30. What a lovely way to spend your b'day. The museum looks fascinating - so many beautiful tiles. Friends, beer and a curry sounds like a perfect b'day bash.

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    1. It was a fab day, Suzy, weather aside! x

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  31. Happy belated birthday Vix! The tile museum is fab. There are so many great places to visit that are hardly heard of. We are off to Hurgden Manor tomorrow for a vintage Christmas visit. It beats the madness of the shops any day. Great pics btw the colours are lovely. Xx

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    1. I haven't been to Hurgden Manor, hope it was lovely! Highly recommend Ironbridge if you haven't already visited. There's lots of museums there. x

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  32. You girls look fabulous, I'm not surprised you had your photo taken.
    Philip likes Dali those tiles would be up his street. I love the antelope, it's beautiful.
    Good job it was such a colouful day out, the weather outside was grotty. It's like that here today. xxx

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    1. Another grotty day here today, glad we have postal votes!
      I loved that antelope, I bought the postcard from the gift shop and framed it.

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  33. Happy Birthday, amazing tiles and art

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  34. Those tiles!!! Looks like you had a great birthday!

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  35. WOWWW, this Tiles Museum looks so absolutely gorgeous and it's just my kind of thing!, lovely tiles beautifully displayed, lovely victorian pub (missing this kind of pubs too!) and absolutely breathtaking Arts&Crafts motives. The Antelope panel is stunning and totally stole my heart!
    Looking fabulous in your colorful dress and cute coat, and looking gorgeous posing with your friends for the local press! ;DD
    besos & feliz cumplea├▒os

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    1. It really is a wonderful place! I used to love those tiled bars, they need to bring them back!

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  36. Gorgeous tiles! I was just at an exhibition that included Evelyn de Morgan's work, William's wife.

    Glad to see you had such a fab birthday.

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    1. I bet that was an interesting exhibition! xxx

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  37. You really do have museums for everything over there, don't you! I like the idea of a tile museum, and this one has some gorgeous examples of the craft. The Antelope Panel is really lovely.

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  38. We do have some quirky museums! I loved the antelope, I bought the postcard from the gift shop and framed it. x

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Thank you for leaving a comment. If you have a blog I'll pop over and return the favour.

Lots of love, Vix