This beautiful Classical Greek inspired round portrait tile was made by the J.G.&J.F. LOW ART TILE WORKS in the 1880s. These types of tiles were often used to adorn parlor stoves; this one was part of a Novel Garland Stove, as this one was. On the back of the tile, it reads in recessed lettering: J.G.&J.F. LOW ART TILE WORKS CHELSEA. MASS.. U.S.A. COPYRIGHT BY J.G.& J.F. LOW. (See 2nd picture)
These tiles are known for their wonderful depictions of ancient Greek or Roman characters or famous people of the day, as well as their appealing glazes. This tile, of a Grecian woman, is in a lovely teal blue glaze, that is still glossy, as you can see in the photos. And because the glaze is less concentrated on the high features and pools in the recesses, it gives the dimensional relief of the portrait even more depth and character.
The tile has a 3/16th inch recess around the perimeter of the tile. This was because it was mounted in a smaller circular opening of the stove from the back side. Originally, this rim was not intended on being seen, however, if you wish to used it as an art piece, it could be affixed (with a glue or some other adhesive?) to a metal bowl or frame? I photographed it just laying in an older brass frame that had a smaller opening just so you could get an idea of how that might look framed. Another method would be to have a mat cut for a frame you thought would enhance the piece. It could then be hung on the wall or placed on a small decorative easel or plate stand on a table or shelf.
CONDITION and MEASUREMENT:
The tile has not been repaired and is not cracked; it is original. The glaze has some crazing, as nearly all these tiles seem to have, and there is some wear on some of the high areas of the tile: a tiny chip on the tip of her nose, another tiny chip on her curls above the bridge of her nose on the right side when looking at her. The glaze seems thin and has darkened in a few areas on her chin and in her curls. I have not aggressively tried to clean the tile at all--just used a little soap and water. You could try to clean these areas, but I left them pretty much just as she was when she was taken off the stove. I think she looks attractive just as she is. Please examine the photo and if you want close ups, just let me know.
The tile measures 4 1/4 inches across, edge to edge, and 3 7/8 inches from the inner edge to inner edge. It is about 7/8ths inches thick a the tallest point.
HISTORY of LOW ART TILE WORKS:
This is what I found on the internet - John G. Low, inventor of Low's Art Tiles, was born in Chelsea, Mass. in 1835. After studying in Paris, he began making pottery and formed a company, J. & J.G. LOW, with his father, John Low around 1871. John Low, the father, retired in 1883, and now the inventor's son, John F. Low joins the company under the name of J.G.& J.F. LOW. This tile would have been made under this name.
This pretty stove tile would please any lover of antique or vintage decor.
Feel free to ask questions. The tile is located in Brookfield, Wisconsin (just west of Milwaukee County.)
I sell from a smoke-free, pet-free home. All sales are final. Payment is due in cash upon pickup.
Posted in: Antiques
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