A small c.2.5m2 to 5.7m2 Boch Freres ceramic floor c.1900
For the purist this is an excellent ceramic encaustic tile; classical in its design these 17cm square* Boch Freres, Maubeuge tiles have a deep slip and are close to 2cm thick, weighing over 1.3 kilos each. We include in the photo gallery some scans from the original Boch Freres catalogue in our possession showing the presentation of the tiles.
*Owing to their handmade production there are subtle variations in the tile sizes between 17cm and 17.2cm. There are 27 x 17cm sq tiles and 55 x 17.2cm sq tiles.
The field tile is in cool tones of light and mid grey on off-white, with subtle burgundy piping around the principal snowflake motif. We can offer the original Boch Freres border options shown in the period Boch Freres catalogue; a greek geometric themed same sized border and a monotone half sized band border, We would be happy to photograph the field tiles with these borders on request.
There are over 70 of the large borders and 85 of the half size borders, though we would be prepared to supply to the quantity required should fewer be needed.
The floor did not travel far to its original home in Maubeuge, in the Nord department of France, Boch Freres had its factory there and at its peak at the beginning of the 20th century employed large numbers of the local population.
The tiles arrive ready to relay as they have been slowly and carefully cleaned of old lime based mortar on their backs, the sides have had old joints cleaned off and the faces have had old wax and dirt removed to reveal an excellent quality ceramic. Being an antique floor of over 100 years old there are minor chips and occasional nibbles on some of the tiles, all groutable and all adding to a charming antique patina.
A ceramic encaustic fired to a temperature in excess of 1,100 degrees, the tiles are excellent conductors and retainers of heat and can be used with underfloor heating systems as well as being laid outside where sub-zero temperatures will have no effect on the tile. They do not require sealing once laid and waxing is only by choice, should you prefer the tiles to have a satin sheen. The only maintenance required to retain their beauty is a regular washing.
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.