TACS Church Ceramics Conference 2006

Papers from the TACS 25th anniversary conference ‘Church Ceramics: Decorative tiles, mosaic and terracotta during and after the Gothic Revival’ held at the Coalbrookdale site of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust on the 6th-7th October 2006.


Conference Speakers

Hans van Lemmen

Overview of nineteenth century church tile manufacturers and architects
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Hans van Lemmen was born and educated in the Netherlands before moving to Britain. He taught for many years at Leeds Metropolitan University and is an established author on the history of tiles and architectural ceramics and has lectured on the subject in Britain and elsewhere. He has written or co-written Tiled Furniture, Victorian Tiles, Medieval Tiles, Twentieth Century Tiles, Church Tiles of  the Nineteenth Century, Architectural Ceramics, Ceramic Roof ware and Coade Stone for Shire Publications and Tiles in Architecture, Delftware Tiles and Art Nouveau Tiles for Laurence King Publications.

He is a founder member and present chairman of the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society.

Michael Fisher

Pugin’s designs and Minton tiles
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Michael Fisher is a former Research Scholar in Local History at Keele University, and author of several books on historical and architectural themes. He has a particular interest in A. W. N. Pugin and Gothic Revival architecture. He researched the history of Alton Towers and the Shrewsbury family with particular reference to Pugin’s work at Alton, and in May 1999 published Alton Towers: A Gothic Wonderland. This was followed up in 2002 by Pugin-Land, which deals with the rich heritage of Pugin buildings in North Staffordshire. He has also written articles for The New Dictionary of National Biography and for Country Life magazine.

He is currently cataloguing the drawings collection at the John Hardman Studio in Birmingham and has written a guidebook for Pugin’s most famous church, St Giles, Cheadle (published Nov 2004).  His latest publication is Staffordshire and the Gothic Revival (Landmark Publications, June 2006)

Dennis Hadley

Opus Sectile: Art from recycled scrap
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Dennis Hadley is a retired physicist and safety advisor with a long-terminterest in the archives of the window department of James Powell & Sons of Whitefriars. When compiling a list of window designs it became evident that some cartoons were reused for opus sectile, a material in which interest was arising but on which little had been published and hence his current interest developed.

Dennis Hadley writes: “Some of the glass made by James Powell & Sons was not clear enough to use or sell. The finely ground waste was compacted into sheets and between 1864 and 1870 was developed as a form of opaque glass which provided a less expensive alternative to Salviati-type mosaic. Over the following half century the material found many applications in mural decoration and memorial tablets.”

Jennie Stopford

Nineteenth century antiquarians and medieval tiles
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Dr Jennie Stopford has recently published a fully illustrated study of the design, manufacture and use of medieval floor tiles in northern England, Medieval Floor Tiles of Northern England, Pattern and Purpose: production between the 13th and 16th centuries (Oxbow Books 2005). The study was funded by English Heritage as most of the Yorkshire monastic sites with substantial collections of floor tiles are in the guardianship of the state. However, the work was not confined to guardianship sites but included all extant floor tiles in the north of England. Work on the extant assemblages was supplemented by a search of antiquarian literature. The Northern Tiles study was the culmination of many years of work, including a PhD thesis on the medieval floor tiles assemblage of Bordesley Abbey, a Cistercian foundation in Redditch, Hereford and Worcester.

Jennie Stopford now works for English Heritage as an Inspector of Ancient Monuments in north-west England.

Tony Herbert

Church tiles by Maw & Co

Tony Herbert developed an interest in Jackfield tiles on moving to Shropshire in 1965. In the late 1960s he was involved with rescuing tiles, catalogues and plaster patterns from Maws works to form the basis of collections for the infant Ironbridge Gorge Museum. In the late 1970s he worked for the Museum, setting up conservation and tile manufacturing workshops and developing displays along with Kathryn Huggins; their The Decorative Tile in architecture and interiors was published in 1995 by Phaidon Press. In the early 1980s Tony Herbert became first curator of the Jackfield Tile Museum and has since worked freelance; he is a past chairman of the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society. Tony Herbert now holds lecturing posts in the School of Art and Design, University of Wolverhampton and at the Ironbridge Institute (University of Birmingham).

Michael Vanns

The tiles of Craven Dunnill
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Michael Vanns is Curator of Jackfield Tile Museum, one of the ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums, which is housed in the best surviving purpose-built Victorian decorative tile factory in the country. Its displays include period room settings, the original gas-lit trade showroom and huge pictorial panels rescued from now-demolished buildings.  Craven Dunnill Jackfield continue to produce hand-made tiles at the site, which has been transformed over the past eight years with the support of various organizations including the Heritage Lottery Fund. A brand new building will provide extra exhibition space and workshops for six creative craftspeople. His lecture is summarised in the following article: New Archaeological Finds at Jackfield Tile Museum, Ironbridge Gorge Museums.

Lesley Durbin

Conserving Church Tiles
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Lesley Durbin is senior conservator in The Jackfield Conservation Studio, based at Jackfield Tile Museum, Ironbridge, Telford.  She has worked in the conservation of architectural ceramics for over twenty years, and is an Accredited Conservator in the Institute of Conservation and a member of the IHBC.  The small, but skilled team which is Jackfield Conservation Studio works with English Heritage on their maintenance programme for medieval tiles, and has completed a lengthy agenda of conservation for the Supreme Court of Ontario, Osgoode Hall, Toronto, as well as work in the Houses of Lords and Commons at the Palace of Westminster.  The company offers a complete service in the care, conservation and restoration of ceramic tiles.

Lesley Durbin is author of Architectural Tiles – Conservation and Restoration published by Elsevier Butterworth Heinemann in 2004.

Robert Field 

The mosaics of Eric Newton and Oppenheimers
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Robert Field is an artist and author.  Besides being a member of the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society, he is also a member of ASPROM (Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics) and of its parent body AIEMA (Association Internationale pour l’Etude de la Mosaique Ancienne). He has travelled extensively in the Roman world, studying and photographing mosaics, and his strong interest in pattern and design, combined with ancient history, led to publication of the first of his books on geometric patterns in 1988, Geometric Patterns from Roman Mosaic (Tarquin Publications). Five other titles have followed since, and all have sold worldwide, being used by a variety of people as a basis for creative design.

A founder member of the British Association for Modern Mosaic, he believes passionately in mosaic as a medium for artistic expression and exhibits regularly.

Janet Douglas

The mosaic works of Frank Brangwyn
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Janet Douglas is Principal Lecturer in Politics in the School of Cultural Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University.  Although born in Manchester, she studied history at the University of Leeds, a city she has never left since moving there in 1960.  She has lectured in various higher education institutions, largely in Politics but given her interests in the Arts generally, has often focused her research on the interface between the Arts and Politics.  In 1989, she completed an MA at the University of Hull in Literature and British Politics and the following year studied for a postgraduate diploma in Art History at Leeds Polytechnic.  Her initial interest in the mosaics at St Aidan’s derives from this research.

Her other interests have concerned the history of Leeds and she has been active in the West Yorkshire Group of the Victorian Society since the mid 1970s. Over the years, she has given countless lectures and conducted guided walks for various organisations in the city, written a number of guide books and trails and most recently contributed a section to the Pevsner Architectural Guide to Leeds written by Susan Wrathmell. Her article ‘Patronage and Politics in a Leeds Parish: The Story of the Brangwyn Mosaics in St Aidan’s Church, Harehills’ appeared in the 1996 Journal of the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society, volume 6, pp23-28.

Miranda Goodby

The religious terracotta works of George Tinworth

Presentation based on her article ‘George Tinworth: an Artist in Terracotta’ which appeared in the 1990 Journal of the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society, volume 3, pp15-21 and is included here Download paper (PDF, 5MB)

Miranda Goodby has been the Curator of Ceramics at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, since 1995, having previously worked in museums as diverse as the British Museum, London, and the Spode Museum, Stoke-on-Trent.  She has taught at several British polytechnics and universities and lectures widely in the UK and in North America. She has published papers on various aspects of late 18th and early 19th century ceramics, including the moulding technology used by 18th century potteries, the potters Enoch Wood and William Littler, and on the emigration of Staffordshire workers to the United States in the 1840s.

Lynn Pearson

Broad Visions: The TACS database and the twentieth century church
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Dr Lynn Pearson is an independent architectural historian and photographer. Specialising in unheralded structures and forms, particularly breweries and post-1950 decorative arts.  She studied at the universities of Warwick, Birmingham and Newcastle upon Tyne and was a research fellow at the universities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton.  She has published seventeen books including Public Art since 1950 (Shire Publications, 2006) and British Breweries: An Architectural History (Hambledon Press, 2000).  She wrote and edited the Tiles & Architectural Ceramics Society’s Tile Gazetteer (Richard Dennis, 2005), which was runner-up in the 2005 national reference book of the year awards, and has been Editor of the TACS Journal since 2004.  She is currently researching Played on Tyne and Wear, to be published by English Heritage in 2009.