New tiles imitate Arts and Crafts originalsBy

New tiles imitate Arts and Crafts originals

A batch of new tiles has been made in various Arts and Crafts styles. New tiles are similar is color and design to vintage tiles by Grueby, Newcomb College, SEG and other period studios and makers.

Many new tiles are made by the Ephraim Pottery in the USA (Fig. 3). This company specializes in art pottery in the Arts and Crafts style and makes not only tiles, but also vases and bowls in various sizes. Several leading dealers in vintage pottery agreed Ephraim's Grueby-styled tile in Figs. 1 and 2 is the most similar to a vintage original.

While it's fortunate Emphraim Pottery marks its new tiles, pieces by other makers are often not marked. There is also the problem of covered and hidden marks. Of the six framed tiles in this article, only one frame was open in the back with the new mark visible. Backs of the other five frames were sealed with a wood panel nailed in place. Even if a seller was willing, the nailed panels would be extremely difficult to remove at a show or mall without special tools.

When buying without a firsthand inspection–either online or a catalog or flyer–be sure to ask very specific questions about age and guarantees. Keep in mind there are many other more new tiles in the market than the limited number shown in this article.

There are also new tiles by a modern company which includes the Fulper name. The name was revived in 1984 by four granddaughters of William Hill Fulper II. The granddaughters call their company Fulper Glazes, Inc. New Fulper products have glazes very similar to original Fulper products made ca. 1909-1930s.

Among the new products are tiles such as Moon on the Bayou shown in Fig. 14. New Fulper marks can be identified by the two separate boxes, one of which includes the word "Tile." Marks of the original Fulper never include the word "Tile."

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Fig. 1 New pottery tiles by Ephraim Pottery are made in the style of Grueby, Necomb College and other Arts and Crafts period studios and shops.

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Fig. 2 The new tiles in this article are all mounted in quarter-sawn oak similar to vintage Arts and Crafts styled frames. The new tiles were priced $85-$125 which included frames.

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Fig. 3 This is one of the molded marks used by Ephraim Pottery. The marks change from year to year.

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Fig. 4 New tile, 6 by 6 inches with hanging moss. Maker unknown. Mounted in quarter-sawn oak frame.

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Fig. 5 The frame holding this new Ephraim tile has an open back and the new mark is obvious. If the back were sealed, the new mark would be hidden.

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Fig. 6 This oak frame with another new tile is sealed with a matching oak panel. The panel is nailed into the back and covers any marks.

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Fig. 7 New tile, 6 by 6 inches, wind-swept tree cliff. Maker unknown. Mounted in quarter-sawn oak frame.

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Fig. 8 Another style of molded mark used by Ephraim Faience Pottery.

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Fig. 9 New 6-inch Newcomb-style vase marked Ephraim Faience Pottery USA (see mark in Fig. 8).

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Fig. 10 New tile, 4 by 8 inches, oak tree on savanna. Maker unknown. Mounted in quarter-sawn oak frame.

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Fig. 11 New tile, 6- by 6-inches, large oak tree by Ephriam Pottery. Mounted in quarter-sawn oak frame.

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Fig. 12
Mark on tile shown in Fig. 13.

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Fig. 13 A reproduction of a scarce Rookwood tile with rabbits under a tree. It is marked North Prairie Tileworks rubber stamped black ink. The ink stamp can be removed. Originals are usually, but not always, marked Rookwood.

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Fig. 14 New Fulper Glazes, Inc. tile, 7¾-inch square tile. Issued around 1992. Available in several glazes.

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Fig. 15 The mark of the modern Fulper Glazes, Inc. includes two boxes and the word "Tile."

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Fig. 16 Two vintage Fulper Pottery marks. Both are enclosed by a rounded border and never include Tile.