A new gallery at Jackfield Tile Museum, near Ironbridge in Shropshire, opening 16th October, will house a world-class collection of British decorative tiles donated from a private collector. The 1,300 individual tiles and 310 panels feature a roll call of prestigious design names including Pugin, Dresser, Morris, De Morgan and Bawden
The tiles have been donated by Mr John Scott, whose immaculate collection was privately displayed at his London home before its move to the museum. Pieces originate from the mid-19th century through to the mid-20th century and offer a fascinating insight into the design aesthetics of the past, ranging from one-off pieces from private homes to ornate panels from hospitals and other public buildings.
The dedicated gallery will be a brand new addition to the museum, requiring the renovation of what was originally a workroom in the Craven Dunnill tile factory. It will pay homage to the collector’s outstanding generosity by transforming part of its new space to reflect the flamboyance of Mr Scott’s own sitting room, with rich colours and tiles of every description spilling out over the walls from floor to ceiling. The gallery will also feature clusters of some of Mr Scott’s favourite tiles, showcases of works from the key designers and a digital photo catalogue of the entire collection.
Possibly the star of the collection is a magnificent tile panel by William De Morgan featuring a stylised deer, from Battersea Old House. Made up of a total of 42 tiles and standing over a metre in height, this design is evocative of all that is associated of the Aesthetic Movement of the 1870s. The collection also contains many other De Morgan designs, including his signature galleons, animals and mythical beasts.
Twentieth century designers are also well represented with examples by Edward Bawden showing his characteristic dynamic style. One panel that stands out from all the others by way of its striking modernism, is John Piper’s Four Seasons; an unusual foray by the artist into the world of tile design.
Delighted to be able to display this important collection to the public, Anna Brennand Chief Executive, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust commented; “We have been working with John over a number of years and are thrilled that he donated his tile collection to the Trust. John has a discerning eye for excellent design and has brought together a collection that reflects not only his taste but the changing tastes of a nation over the last 150 years.”
Open 10am-5pm Jackfield Tile Museum is one of ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums. Admission to Jackfield, including the John Scott Gallery, is £8.50 per adult, £5.75 per child (aged up to 18 and in full time education) and £7.75 for seniors (60+).
A great value Annual Passport Ticket allowing entry into all ten museums, valid for twelve months and unlimited return visits, costs £27.50 per adult, £21 for the 60 plus, £16.50 for students and children and £68 for a family of two adults and all their children aged (terms and conditions apply); under 5s free. Activities and workshops vary day-to-day and some carry an extra charge in addition to the museum admission fee. Individual museum entry tickets are also available.
For further information, contact the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre on Tel: 01952 433 424 or visit www.ironbridge.org.uk.
The Gorge is easily reached via the M6 and M54 motorways exiting at Telford (M54 junction 4 or 6).