"Birds of Tintern Abbey, Full, Square" (No. 122).
H. 5 5/8" x W. 5 3/4". Museum Purchase, 1997. Collection of the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The design was introduced by Henry Chapman Mercer in 1900 and was made at the Moravian Pottery and Tileworks through the 1950s. According to Vance Koehler, Curator of Historic Properties at the tileworks who graciously has loaned Tile Heritage this image, Mercer's source was a drawing of a medieval inlaid tile he obtained from the Society of Antiquaries, still in Mercer's collection. That tile was traced at Tintern Abbey in the mid-19th century. The British Museum may also have a similar tile that Mercer may have studied. "Birds of Tintern Abbey" is a tile that is still made today at the pottery.

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Moravian Pottery and Tileworks
Doylestown, Pennsylvania

The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, a National Historic Landmark, is maintained as a "working history" museum by Pennsylvania's County of Bucks, Department of Parks and Recreation. Handmade tiles are still produced in a manner similar to that developed by the pottery's founder and builder, Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930). Mercer was a major proponent of the Arts & Crafts movement in America. He directed the work at the pottery from 1898 until his death in 1930.

According to Vance Koehler, Curator of Historic Properties at the pottery, "Tile making came to Mercer as a result of his efforts to preserve aspects of American material culture that were quickly disappearing due to the continuing effects of the Industrial Revolution. Mercer referred to his venture as an "artistic pottery" and patterned his early tiles on models gathered from a large number of historic sources, such as Pennsylvania German stove plates, English, French and German medieval tiles and objects collected during his travels in Europe and North Africa." (Taken from Vance Koehler's "Introduction," Guide Book to the Tiled Pavement in the Pennsylvania Capitol. Harrisburg, PA: Capitol Preservation Committee, n.d.)

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Medieval encaustic tiles unearthed at the Great
Church at Glastonbury Abbeyin England
consecrated in 1213. At the time of the Dissolution
in 1539 the abbey was larger in its total area than
Canterbury and second in wealth only to Westminster.
Photo by Sheila Menzies, 2004.