Monday, 28 September 2015

PILKINGTON AND ALPHONSE MUCHA: THE 1900 PARIS EXHIBITION


Pilkington exhibited at the 1900 Paris Exhibition. 
This was probably the most influential event in its development of artistic products. 
William Burton took a small party of artists to show off products that include floor tiles, wall decorations, fireplaces with hearths both with low relief, raised outline and printed form.

Designs by Walter Crane, Frederick Shields, Lewis F. Day, C.F.A. Voysey, F.A. Steele and John Chambers made up the valuable cargo that crossed the channel.
 Wall mosaics were also shown as was pottery with glazes by William and Joseph Burton.
Its stand proudly proclaimed;

PILKINGTONS Tile and Pottery Co. Clifton Junction MANCHESTER.


The floors of the stand were tiled and the quatrafoiled columns that held up shallow Norman Arches were adorned with architectural exterior tiles. These were holding aloft corbels that were decorated with the Pilkingtons emblem proudly emblazoned in lustre, below a ceramic cornice.

The Senses, a series of panels by Walter Crane which were painted in slips by John chambers and were set, framed within architectural ceramic Ionic pilasters, and with its ceramic apron and cornice was a work of art within itself.
This enabled them not only to show their work but to compare themselves to competitors, and to get themselves acquainted with developments and trends in other parts of Europe.
The main development that came from this journey south into Europe was that they acquired the right of use for designs by Alphonse Mucha.
The Paris office of Pilkingtons revealed that they had the use of 20 designs a year but it is not clear just how many of Mucha's designs were in fact used.

At the 1901 Glasgow Exhibition four panels entitled Les Fleurs were shown.
A set of these also decorated the hall way of the Pilkington factory, they must have been highly prized until the 1940's when the factory was redesigned.


In Liverpool a massive tile panel was conceived by Pilkingtons  own artists made up of five large murals depicting pottery through the ages and photographic evidence remains at the factory and at the Walker Art gallery where it was installed. During World War II the building was badly damaged, though the tiles themselves remained intact they were destroyed when the remains of the building were demolished, no doubt to make way for a cafe.



Pilkingtons tiles were on the ill fated Titanic.

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