John use to have an Antique  business in Ireland.  A main feature of that store was antique cast iron fireplaces- he would find them in old houses, refurbish and sell.  Some of these cast iron fireplaces were massive- but they all had a porcelain tile decorated side panel. John has saved many tiles from his store- they all came from fireplaces he worked on- all authentic-all antiques late 1800 or early 1900.

While old cast iron fireplaces  are not common in American- exception my be in early east coast homes of a certain period. However  they were and ares still a feature in English & Irish Homes.

Remember until independence in the 1900s, Ireland was part of England and all the potteries were found in England….most in the Stoke on Trent area of Staffordshire, England.  Some tiles were and still are more valuable-due to the artist/designer, the potter, or the style and glazes used.

The pics above of those of a majolica  art nouveau style tile c.1900  As you can see from the back- the soot stain is still present- also the back indicates a numbered tile which suggests manufacturer- which can add to the value of the tile.  There is fine crackling of the glaze on the deep colored surface- another feature of these historical art pieces

I have posted a copy of an English site- one of the best sites I know of concerning these antique tiles- see box below.  There are other sites online that sell these tiles-one in Uruguay…from these sites, you can see the value of these antiques- average costs range in $20 to $50 per tile- some from famous collectible manufacturers sell for much more.  For one- Minton tile company had a designer, John Moyr Smith who not only designed gorgeous tiles of pattern, floral and geometrics but he also designed pictorial tiles and created multiple series.  A series of 8 to 12 tiles with themes such as Early English History, Shakespeare, Nursery Rhymes, The bible, Fairy tales, Classical figures with Musical Instruments among others..same samples below…..




John Moyr-Smith (1839-1912) trained as an architect in Glasgow, but settled in London in 1867 and is best known as a prolific illustrator; his other tiles series include illustrations to the Bible and the works of contemporary authors such as Walter Scott and Tennyson. His Shakespeare series was made at a time when there was much interest in the revival of Shakespeare’s plays in authentic costume. Building on the tradition of antiquarian research in stage design established by J.P. Kemble in the 1820s and Charles Kean in the 1850s, the architect E.W. Godwin designed costumes for Shakespeare’s plays throughout the 1870s and 1880s; his designs were based on meticulous sketches in the British Museum and from scholarly publications, and were made for the actress Ellen Terry, with whom he lived from 1868, and the actor-manager Henry Irving.
The industrial production of tiles in the second half of the nineteenth century made them available for a wide range of domestic interiors. They became especially popular for the fireplace, where they would be set into a cast-iron frame forming a fireproof wall lining as well as a miniature picture gallery around the fire. The Victorian hearth was the focal point of the home and so printed tiles with literary subjects such as this were considered the most appropriate, being both morally improving and educational.-British Museum



Antique tiles are great display items that can find a place in almost any home. Easy to display, the straight edges mean they easily sit on a shelf or can be easily framed and similar to plates they may also be mounted on plate stands or in plate hangers. Plates are probably the most similar collectables but tiles offer a vastly greater range of designs and colors.


Antique tiles make a great and unique gift and are highly decorative. With brilliant glazes and bright colors antique tiles have a near universal appeal, they make a more personalized gift than a product from a regular store and with such a range of designs there are tiles to suit almost every taste and interest. It is no wonder that there are many collectors of English antique tiles around the world but there are many more people who just have a few nice tiles to display and use.


Make a feature, antique tiles can be used to make that special centerpiece or focal point in a backsplash or table top, a few great designs can make all the difference to an area of plain tiles and antique tiles are still often less expensive and better quality than bespoke contemporary tiles. Tiles have a traditional use as potstands or tea pot stands and flat tiles are well suited to the role. All our tiles have been professionally cleaned and have at most very minimal adhesive residue remains so can be readily installed or comfortably sit on display stands and in frames.


Antique tiles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries are unique the brilliance of the glazes is unequalled in more modern tiles. Many processes then used are now prohibited in modern tile manufacture due to health and safety concerns for the workers.


With fewer things to spend money compared to nowadays a higher proportion of income was spent on homes and much of that was on the hi-tech decorative objects of the day. Tiles were prominent features in homes of the day and highly prized, around 1900 an average worker could buy two fairly ordinary tiles with their daily wage, just one of the best tiles in the larger sizes of 8′ x 8″ or 12″ x 6″ cost more than a week’s wage. Tiles were used both for installation and as pure objéts d’art as is witnessed by the tiles from around 1900 that we see in their original frames.


The range and diversity of Victorian and Edwardian tiles continues to amaze even after over 30 years we still see tiles we have never seen before almost daily. The camera and screen can not fully portray the wonder of many of the tiles, like a print of a great oil painting does not do justice to the master. Whilst not all of the beauty can be captured much of it can, so why not browse away and have some fun :-)-SEE TILE HEAVEN.COM