TileWeb: Paving-Tile Watercolours Online

Project Description:

The archive of the Parker - Hore Collection is a family story covering the period from the 1840s to the onset of World War II in 1939. It is a portrait of a granddaughter's dedicated completion of a task started by a grandmother whom she never met. These two women inspired many contemporaries in their quest for tracings of decorative medieval paving tiles in England, Wales, Ireland and northern France. TileWeb affords an opportunity to examine the subject designs within individual buildings, to set these in the context of their county, to look at the trends of patronage and discover the medieval world, where the church lay at the heart of contemporary life. Decorative tiles were part of the elaborate furnishings used in royal households, cathedrals, churches, monastic buildings and occasionally merchant's houses in the thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The use of such tiles reflected the wealth and power of the building's patron: kings, queens, bishops, abbot's and merchants chose the designs to be used in a floor or on a wall. Scanning of the watercolour paintings of tiles enabled the digital reunification of some 3,000 items of the divided archive into a single digital catalogue. The project has identified iconographical themes and the potential for mounting an exhibition that focuses on exotic design elements, with multiethnic links, and a study focus for heraldry and genealogy might provide the basis of a travelling exhibition. In the longer term it will certainly inform an educational initiative for engaging children's interest in history and art in their local environment. This might take the form of an online resource pack using the tile paintings relating to patterns and ceramics, available for world wide access, and for personal visits to the museum.