Mid-Century Modern Tiles
A History and Collector's Guide
15th February 2017
This book showcases British decorative tiles from 1945 to 1975. ‘Mid-century Modern’ had its roots in the 1930s, with influences especially from California and Europe. Pioneers include the architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the USA and, in Europe, the Milan designers Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti, who derived inspiration from artists such as Picasso and Miro. British designers hardly had time to embrace the new style before the Second World War, but the decades after 1945 saw it flourish in the UK. Bold, sweeping curves in the manner of sculptures by Barbara Hepworth flowed into interior design, and the graphic style of Graham Sutherland was adopted by ceramic manufacturers.
British tile producers developed a Mid-century Modern character of their own, one that was not simply derivative of American and European or even other British designers. Tiles were widely used inside the home, and also as key features of architectural projects. The DIY movement of the 1960s took the choices about interior tiling away from builders and architects, and allowed homeowners to adopt their own style of the day.
This book looks at some of the important tile manufacturers, such as Carter & Company in Poole, and shows off the variety of skills and techniques that went into creating these decorated tiles, exploring Britain’s rich catalogue of powerful designs.