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Salesman's Sample of Kensington Tiles

Decorative Arts and Design

These extremely rare “paper tiles” were made for a company that also produced molded tiles. The very convincing paper versions of glazed earthenware tiles were probably made by pressing paper on an actual ceramic tile and then painting and lacquering them. “Paper tiles” may have been used in showrooms or by traveling sales representatives as lightweight and unbreakable samples.
MEDIUM Composition board
  • Place Manufactured: New York, United States
  • DATES ca. 1885
    DIMENSIONS 5 13/16 x 5 13/16 x 1/4 in. (14.8 x 14.8 x 0.6 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS on white paper label pasted on back with orange print with vertical floral arrangement on left edge and reads in center: " KENSINGTON / . TILES. / MANUFACTURED BY / S. VAN CAMPEN & CO. / NEW YORK." Below is a trademark with in rococo cartouche flanked by "TRADE / MARK" and within cartouche is: "S ...VC / & / Co.". (see file)
    SIGNATURE no signature
    INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Kevin L. Stayton
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Tile made of embossed composition board, varnished with ochre-colored, transparent varnish, the composition consists of a male youth in profile, facing proper left edge of tile. The figure has collar-length hair, mustache, circular-shaped cap, and garbed in a broad collared jacket, thick-linked chain with pendant medallion. The figure holds (in bottom right corner) a four-stringed instrument including scroll and neck. Impressed on front: "Then Thee / Lover With A / Wofful (sic) Ballad". Bottom left corner is impressed: "S. Van Campen & Co., N.Y. CONDITION: Good, warped; bowing in center, varnished surface is cracked, most notably at the highest areas of relief, such as: the mustache, hair line, cap, eyebrows, nose, chin and stringed instrument. There is an orange-colored speckled area directly above scroll of instrument - may be chips in varnished surface.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION S. Van Campen & Company. Salesman's Sample of Kensington Tiles, ca. 1885. Composition board, 5 13/16 x 5 13/16 x 1/4 in. (14.8 x 14.8 x 0.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Kevin L. Stayton, 88.155.4 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 88.155.4_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 88.155.4_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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