12m2+/130 sq ft antique Belgian ceramic encaustic floor

A 12m2+ / 130 sq ft antique ceramic Belgian floor comprising of a classically period field tile and a strongly geometric full size border tile. This is a beautifully tessellating floor in a geometric repetition of diamonds framing a central vegetal motif. The central motifs alternate between blue on grey and grey on green. The palette is excellent for distributing light; a white fond with aqua greens and blues, light grey and burgundy. The large borders, on a fond of light grey, are strongly geometric and share the same palette with the exception of introducing a red central motif. Ornate but also classical with the styling the perfect endorsement of the expression that 'less is more'. Both the main field tile and border tile are 14cm square although there are subtle variations in size.

The floor has cleaned well, revealing a rich time aged patina and owing to the handmade nature of the tiles there are subtle variations in colours and surface slip, adding to the charm of the floor. The high resolution photographs below of a metre sq of the floor are representative of the whole and higher resolution photographs are available should you wish to see more detail.

The reverses of the tiles bear the inscription 'CNW', an abbreviation for 'Societe Anonyme Le Ceramique National, Welkenraedt', a company established at Forges-Les-Chimay in 1892 which later opened a subsidiary in Welkenraedt in 1900. The Welkenraedt factory continued to trade until the mid 1920's so the floor dates between 1900 and 1920.

A similar antique field tile has been supplied previously to a client in Virginia, USA who has laid the tile to stunning effect in a sun room.

Tile quantities, give or take one or two:-

Field tiles - 397 - 7.85m2

Border tiles - 197 - 4m2 or 28 linear metres / 92 linear ft.


Antique tiles were most commonly made in single or two tile moulds. Before current computer automation methods their moulds were made my hand and the colour slips mixed by eye. Kiln temperatures could also be variable, as could the firing time. The result is that often tiles display subtle size and thickness variations and there can be tonal variations in colours, owing to the slip mixing and/or firing time. All of this makes these handmade tiles unique and adds to their charm. Some floors display their subtle variations in size and tones, some not, but when photographing we always take a random section of the floor so that it is representative of the whole. A tiler should always dry lay a section of the tiles to familiarise himself with them before starting to fix lay. 

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