This most adorable hippo was made in the Los Angeles studio of a ceramic artist Hal Fromhold in 1961-1963. I am not quite clear on the details but it seems that Bertil Vallien, who later became a rather famous glass artist, began his career as a ceramicist. In 1961 he had a fellowship at Fromhold's studio and created a series of these whimsical plaques: hippo, horse & bird, horse & rider, lion. I've seen a few of these so far, and each one has a different color scheme. I don't think there were too many of them made. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Birds
This is my second phoenix bird (the first one is the linoleum wrought iron table), and I am quite fond of this one. Like many others in my collection it was created by Taylor Tilery (1930 - 1941), but it's a very rare and exceptionally well-executed design. Taylor had quite a number of different bird murals (jays, parrots, birds of paradise, pheasants), and this one is the best.
Four large cuerda seca tiles create an incredible Art Deco image of a phoenix (or a pheasant? or a bird of paradise?) perched on a flowering branch against a background of blue and orange stripes. Taylor used matte glazes for this mural; most other bird murals are executed in glossy glazes. It's bright and lively yet very tasteful.
I am stretching the limits of my collection here a bit: this is not a tile table. However, it looks like one, if you squint. It was made around the same time that many of the tile tables were - 1920s - 1930s, and it has a wrought iron frame very similar to the ones that most makers would set their tiles into. It is "poor man's Catalina," in the words of the antique dealer I bought it from.
The intricate phoenix (or is it a pheasant?) design is created out of separate pieces of colored linoleum carefully put together in a mosaic. The image is really beautiful, and the colors are bright. The black border "tiles" are also cut out of linoleum, and the grout between them makes it look like the whole thing is a ceramic surface. Continue reading
This is a great 1920s table made with Spanish cuenca tiles. Tile-making was introduced to Spain by Moors some time in the 14th century and the tiles in this manner have been made throughout the centuries. Cuenca tiles were used extensively in the 16th century. A factory in Seville called Fábrica de Manuel Ramos Rejano made tiles that look similar between 1895 and 1965. Continue reading