3 field tile, 10.75m2, antique Paray le Monial ceramic – 1903
Reclaimed, along with a second floor, from the renovation of a period townhouse close to Roanne, central France, a heritage handmade ceramic manufactured by Ceramiques Paray le Monial in 1903. These 14cm square tiles, complimented by their original 14cm x 7cm half size border consist of two stylized floral themed tiles, one left facing, the other right facing and a linking tile of a gothic influenced motif on a burgundy slip. The tiles are reverse stamped, identifying them as having been manufactured in the eponymously named Burgundian town, famous for its tile production in the late 19th and early 20th century and its internationally known Basilica, completed in the 14th century.
We have included scans from the original 1903 Paray le Monial catalogue presenting the principal field tiles and the half size geometric themed border. Despite their age, 116 years old, they are in excellent condition and have cleaned superbly revealing a good quality ceramic and a consistent and deep surface slip.
The floor was originally laid in the reception room of the house, at an angle to the walls, so we have been able to recover 52 half motif tiles which were used to key the principal field tiles to the border. The floor can also be laid square on to the borders. Both options exist and we provide these triangles free should you wish to use them. The floor is in excellent condition; a few tiles bear small groutable chips or edge nibbles but the tiles are robust, the ceramic excellent and the patina, as the photographs testify is charming.
The surface area of the floor is 10.75 m2 / 116 sq feet
Being a highly fired tile and a dense ceramic, the floor will not require sealing once laid as a regular wash will be all it needs to maintain its beauty. It can be laid inside or outside of the home and will work very efficiently with underfloor heating systems.
Tile quantities (give or take one or two):-
Principal field tile – 190 tiles – 3.72m2 / 40 sq ft.
Principal field tile halves – 52 tiles (supplied free) – 0.5m2 / 5.6 sq ft.
Field tile – ‘Flower right’ – 94 tiles 1.84m2 / 19.8 sq ft.
Field tiles – ‘Flower left’ – 99 tiles 1.95m2 / 20.9 sq ft.
Large border tile – 67 plus 3 corners – 1.37m2 / 14.8 sq ft. or 9.8 linear metres / 32.2 linear ft.
Small border tiles – 140 tiles plus 4 corners 1.4m2 / 15 sq ft. or 19.7 linear metres / 64.8 linear ft.
We have recovered a second and equally impressive Paray le Monial floor from the same development and which has the same dating. It can be found here
Production of tiles at Paray le Monial has long since ceased but there is an impressive small museum in the town of Paray le Monial, Burgundy which details the history of the company, celebrates the work of Paul Charnoz, its founder and creative light and has examples of the superb work produced by him and his team at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. A link for the website can be found here
Antique tiles were most commonly made in single or two tile moulds. Before current computer automation methods their moulds were made my hand and the colour slips mixed by eye. Kiln temperatures could also be variable, as could the firing time. The result is that often tiles display subtle size and thickness variations and there can be tonal variations in colours, owing to the slip mixing and/or firing time. All of this makes these handmade tiles unique and adds to their charm. Some floors display their subtle variations in size and tones, some not, but when photographing we always take a random section of the floor so that it is representative of the whole. A tiler should always dry lay a section of the tiles to familiarise himself with them before starting to fix lay.