Friday’s library snapshot (s)
It was quiet in the Reading Room on Wednesday afternoon it was half term and there were a few children enjoying the break in the weather and running around the garden after visiting the museum. Inside there were a couple of students doing what they needed to; perhaps making finishing touches to end of term essays. There were some people looking at books about land tax and hearth tax; they too didn’t need me. So I did something I had been meaning to do for ages. I took a couple of pictures of the tiles that surround the two fire places in the Reading Room. Although they are tucked away in the reading room they do attract a bit of attention.
And you can see why:
These tiles in the fireplace were designed by William de Morgan (1839-1917) who was the most important ceramic artist of the Arts and Crafts Movement. A life-long friend of the designer and writer William Morris, designed tiles, stained glass and furniture for the firm Morris and Company. His tiles were based on medieval designs or Persian patterns, he experimented with innovative glazes and firing techniques. These tiles feature an Islamic- inspired design.
These tiles surrounding the fire place in the staircase hall are 19th century tin-glazed hand-painted Dutch tiles imported by Thomas Elsly of Great Portland Street, London.
These tiles in the fireplace behind the reading room desk are also by William de Morgan and are known as New Persian.