This overmantel decorated with tiles painted by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. was installed over the fireplace in Old Hall in 1864. It was modified in 1873 by the addition of tiles depicting the two foundress queens.
The painted tiles depict: the two foundress queens, the two patron saints, the Angel of Night, the Angel of Day, and a Labour of the Month for each of the twelve months.
In 1875, a wooden canopy was added over the panel of tiles.
|St Bernard||St Margaret|
Left: Margaret of Anjou as Queen. Recognisable by the daisies (marguerites) in her dress.
Right: Elizabeth Woodville as Queen. Her costume and jewellery are modelled on those in the much-copied portrait.
Both these were designed by Ford Madox Brown in 1873, and added to the earlier tiles.
Right: Angel of Day
Both designed by Morris.
January is personified by the two-headed god Janus: the old head looks back to the old year, and the young head looks forward to the new year.
Warming designed by Burne-Jones.
A young woman reads a Valentine card while warming herself in front of a fire, accompanied by a black cat.
Pruning, designed by Ford Madox Brown.
A man sits on a tree branch, pruning. Beneath him, a white owl sits in a hole in the tree.
Right: April, designed by Morris.
A woman walks in a meadow of flowers, wearing a wreath of leaves, and holding a branch.
Falconry, by Ford Madox Brown.
A woman holds a falcon, accompanied by a dog.
Mowing, by Morris.
A man sharpens his scythe with a stone.
Threshing, designed by Rossetti.
Vintaging, designed by Rossetti.
A woman pours a bucket of new-picked grapes into a barrel.
Feeding pigs, designed by Burne-Jones.
A woman shakes acorns from a tree to feed the pigs below.
Sowing, designed by Ford Madox Brown.
Note: all photographs on this page were taken before the cleaning of 2005.
See the William Morris Gallery for pictures of similar tiles.
1996: William Morris Tiles : The Tile Designs of Morris and his Fellow-Workers, by Richard and Hilary Myers, pp. 62–67 and plates 25–29. (ISBN 978-0-903685-43-6) [Old Hall fireplace overmantel]
1999: The Tile Decoration by Morris & Co. for Queens’ College, Cambridge: The Inspiration of Illuminated Manuscripts, by Michaela Braesel, in Apollo 149, no. 443 (January 1999), pp. 25–33. (ISSN 0003-6536) [reproduced by kind permission of Apollo Magazine and of the author]