Encaustic tiles are glazed and decorated earthenware tiles which were produced in huge quantities during the Gothic period between the 13th and 16th centuries and subsequently in 19th century Britain.
Encaustic tiles are earthenware decorative products produced by stamping a design in wet clay and then infilling it with liquid clays of different colour. After firing, the finished tile usually comprises two colours but can have incorporate up to six, depending on the design. Because the colour is not surface applied but actually forms part of the tile body, the colours remain as the tile is worn down through use. The effect is analogous to a wood inlay. Typically, the inlay in the tiles can be as shallow as 3mm.
The term encaustic is a Victorian term; they were called inlaid tiles during the medieval period. Traditionally, the tile body was made from a red clay mixed with sand. A design in relief would be carved on a wooden block and pressed into the still-moist clay. The resulting form would then be filled with a white clay (called slip) which turned yellow when fired in a low temperature kiln (425°C). Tile designs would sometimes be complete individually, otherwise they would be designed to be laid in groups of 4 or 16.
During both Gothic and Victorian periods, the main use for encaustic tiles was for church flooring where it formed an attractive and very durable surface. Some were also laid in private homes although these were generally copies of the tiles in churches.
Encaustic tiles are still manufactured today in a two-part moulding process that is similar to the traditional method. The only difference is that the inlaid colours are first poured into a mould which is then set into the body colour.
NB Short Guide, Scottish traditional shopfronts, published, on 18 April 2017 by Historic Environment Scotland, defines encaustic tiles as: ‘Victorian tiles which are inlaid with clay to produce a decorative pattern and found in shop entrance lobbies. Mass produced in the later 19th century by Minton & Co. and became a fashionable flooring for many Victorian buildings.’
- Britain's historic paving.
- Chapels of England: buildings of protestant nonconformity.
- Coal holes, pavement lights, kerbs and utilities and wood-block paving.
- Cologne Cathedral.
- Floors of the great medieval churches.
- Floorscape in art and design.
- Palace of Westminster.
- St Pauls Cathedral.
- St. Basil's Cathedral.
The Heritage Sector Resilience Plan, developed by the Historic Environment Forum (HEF) with the support of Historic England, has been launched.
An ‘All-Island’ commitment to Ireland’s vernacular heritage has been established with the signing of the North South Agreement on Vernacular Heritage, supporting traditional buildings etc.
Canons House, a landmark building on Bristol Harbourside, has been awarded Grade II (GII) listed status having been built as a regional headquarters for Lloyds Bank between 1988 and 1991 (Arup)
The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has announced a new project with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to improve and modernise the home energy rating scheme used to measure the energy and environmental performance of UK homes.
Sector lead the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) has recognised the IHBC’s professional accreditation and support (CPD etc.) in awarding its PQP (Professionally Qualified Person) cards.
The IHBC’s 2022 Aberdeen School Heritage MarketPlace (4.30-7.30PM, 15 June) is designed to extend the scope of a traditional IHBC School exhibition floor.
Work to repair a fire-hit medieval hotel in Gloucester is underway as crews have started work to strip back some of the modern trappings and reveal the historic framework.
Options for in-person and virtual delegates to explore ‘heritage on the edge’ across up to 4 days of IHBC engagement & learning.
The Secretariat to the European Heritage Heads Forum has has coordinated its declaration of solidarity and support for Ukraine’s cultural heritage institutions.
2022 will see the IHBC mark a quarter of a century since our incorporation as a professional body supporting and accrediting built and historic environment conservation specialists. We’re kick-starting it by inviting your ideas on how to mark this special year!