5000 Years of Tiles (Paperback)
Placing the tiles firmly in their historical and cultural context, the book highlights both continuity and diversity, the dissemination of techniques and designs, and how tile art in one time and place has inspired and rejuvenated those in others. Tiles are also studied in terms of function as well as form, and the full range of architectural and practical purposes for which they have been used - from floors to roofs, stoves to bathrooms, cathedrals to metro stations - will be explored, along with the various techniques employed to create such versatile pieces. 5000 Years of Tiles is the essential, most comprehensive single volume for anyone interested in the ceramic, decorative, and architectural arts.
Van Lemmen (curator, historian, and president of the Tiles and Architectural Ceramic Society) has written an authoritative and fascinating book that focuses on European clay tiles, but also takes a look at Egyptian, Chinese, Islamic, and American tile history. Hundreds of color photographs of unique and mass-produced floor, wall, stove, flue, and roof tiles from numerous collections and museums illustrate the narrative that examines how tiles have influenced daily life and the economy. As new production methods (such as encaustic and dust-pressed tiles, stencils, transfer printing, and photolithography) developed, decorative tiles became more affordable and widely used. Industrialization and the Arts and Crafts movement encouraged more designers and artists to explore this artistic medium. The detailed historic scholarship is excellent, but the technical information contains several minor errors. For instance, the Chinese did not paint cobalt blue oxide onto biscuit-fired porcelain in Jingdezhen, but painted it onto bone-dry clay, then sprayed clear glaze over it before the first firing. Metric measurements and British spelling and vocabulary are used throughout. Few references are mentioned in the text, and there are no endnotes. A technical glossary is included. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general audience. --C. A. Ventura, Tennessee Technological University