c.14m2 Antique Boch Freres ceramic encaustic floor
A quality antique French ceramic encaustic tile produced by Boch Freres, Maubeuge, France c.1920-1930, we incude in the photo gallery some scans showing the tiles in the original Boch Freres period catalogue.
The floor has been reclaimed from a house in renovation in Levis Saint-Nom, some 45 kms south west of Paris.
The main field tiles are 14cm square and the floor comes complete with its original same size and half size border tiles, which are laid in duplicate. The floors design, in a floral theme, is a re-edition of an earlier tile dating from the latter part of the 19th century, also produced by Boch Freres, Maubege, the key difference being the tile sizes, with the earlier version being 17.5cm square.
The floor has cleaned superbly revealing consistent colours in a subtle palette on an excellent ceramic 1.5cm thick. A small number of tiles have edge nibbles or the occasional small chip but the high resolution photographs are representative of the whole floor which totals c.14m2. We have recovered 190 of the large border tile but only 54 of the half size border.
Being a highly fired ceramic the floor lends itself to being laid inside or outside of the home, where neither high summer or sub zero winter temperatures will affect the structure of the tiles and as great distributors of heat they will work well with under-floor heating systems.
Tile quantities, give or take one or two:-
FIELD – 500 tiles – 10m2 / 110 sq ft.
LARGE BORDERS – 190 tiles plus 4 corners – 3.8m2 / 41 sq ft. or 27.2 linear metres / 89 linear feet
SMALL BORDERS – 54 tiles - 1m2 / 11 sq ft or 7.6 linear metres / 24.8 linear feet
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.