Victorian Decorative Tile Flooring – Mosaic Tiling – Part 1

jan2009_clip_image025.jpgThere are three main types of historic tile flooring used in the Victorian period.

They are Mosaic tile flooring, Geometric tiling, and Encaustic tiling. Each has its own appearance and they were sometimes combined together for wonderful decorative effects.

These tiles were used for a wide variety of purposes for both interior and exterior applications. They were used for front walks – especially in Scotland – and front hallways. They were used for the outside entrances for shops, and the interiors of churches. They were also used for opulent flooring for grand public buildings like City Halls, Houses of Parliament or State Capital buildings as well as for very grand private homes.

jan2009_clip_image027.jpgMosaic Tile Floors

Mosaic Floors were made of small pieces of multi-coloured tiles that were planned carefully to provide a detailed design. The small pieces of tile were then imbedded into a solid bed of mortar and grouted for a fine final appearance.

Known since Roman times, mosaic tiles enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in late Victorian times, due to a combination of industrialization for manufacturing tiles, as well as an increased interest and knowledge of antique architecture. England, with its Roman history, was a particularly popular area for the revival of mosaic tiling.

Two splendid examples of Victorian mosaic flooring in shop entrances in Bowness in the Lake District in England.

An example of c1930’s mosaic flooring in a shopfront in Chichester, England. The mosaic tiles are laid in a classic ‘fan’ shape, with a contrasting border. The entry tiles are set off with marble cladding below the shop windows and a marble threshold between the sidewalk and the entry.