Tuesday, 5 February 2008

On the Tiles

Not much to say about this really, except that it's yet another reminder of an alternative London that still clings on in odd corners of the capital. I came across it as I traversed Smithfield Market to a lunch in Clerkenwell, and it's as much about the tricks that low winter sunshine plays as it seeks its way to highlight forgotten corners as it is about the beautiful art nouveau tiling. Probably made by Doulton's down in Lambeth, the richness of colour and design still appears as fresh as the day the pub furnishers carefully fitted them into place. Worth a look the next time you're walking eastwards up on the north side of the market, the Fox and Anchor is in Charterhouse Street before it opens out into the square. It's worth a look inside too.

7 comments:

Justin Savage said...

There are more lovely tiles at The Tabard on Bath Rd in Chiswick. They've survived a major refurbishment or two and still look glorious. Smashing medium; tiles. Straightforward to create and glaze; infinite possibilities for decoration. So you sit down with some unglazed tiles and paint them as you wish. Then you line them up on the wall, using Somerfield's cheapest spaghetti as spacers,fix them, grout them in, stand back, watch them all fall off, wonder why you bothered in the first place, go to the pub, see the lovely tiles on the wall, think what a wonderful, flexible, medium they are; cheap to glaze and decorate. So you go home, fire up the kiln, using the finest beech logs and a dash of Armagnac just to settle them in, then you pour yourself a large Plymouth Gin to keep you fresh during the firing, take them out, hear the thrum of a Lysander passing low over the fields, check to see if the tiles are fully glazed, fall over, go outside, find a paratrooper fumbling with his 'chute, ask him if he needs a bed for the night and don't worry, my daughter will show you to the stable, there's hay a plenty there, we must all do our bit. Have you come far? Do you know anything about tiling?

Diplomat said...

Jesus, Justin are you OK ?

A F-A said...

Don't give up Justin! I can help you! It's only the spaghetti that's wrong. Use "Azienda Agricola Mancini" brand. Then you'll get a better class of paratrooper dropping in and one of them will surely know which tile adhesive to use.
Either that or get the daughter a new hair-do.

Philip Wilkinson said...

...or you hire a tiler to put them up, but you have to provide the grout and he comes in and says, 'I can't use that grout, it's crap.'
And you say, 'What's wrong with it?'
'It's just crap, that's all.'
'Alright, alright, just tell me what's wrong with it.'
'It's no good. I'm not using it.'
'Look, there's no need to get shirty. I just want to know what's the matter with it. I'm a writer. I like to know stuff. Alright?'
'It's just crap, that's all.'
And so on, I regret to say.

Diplomat said...

bloody hell !

Peter Ashley said...

I'm so glad I photographed them.
I haven't laughed so much since last Saturday. For those who love these little ceramic squares, somebody's just done a book on Underground station tiling, called something like 'Tiles of the Unexpected'.

Ron Combo said...

That's what Plymouth Gin does to you.