Rare 12.5m2+ Boch Freres heritage ceramic floor c.1900
A rare find and now fully restored to its original beauty, a handmade Boch Freres ceramic floor of superb quality, manufactured c.1900 in Maubeuge, France. The floor appears in both the Villeroy & Boch Mettlach catalogue of 1886 and the Boch Freres, Maubeuge catalogue and we show both catalogue presentations in the photo gallery. The floor has been reclaimed from the renovation of a period property in the cathedral city of Bourges, France.
These 17cm square tiles, over 17mm thick and weighing 1.25kgs each, have cleaned beautifully revealing quality, heritage tiles. In a cereal coloured slip, offering a classical geometric tessellation linked each corner by large and small ‘faux cabochons’ the palette is autumnal, the design easy on the eye and the surface in relief. The main field tile is framed by a fluid leaf themed same size border taking from the same palette. The ceramic is dense, the slip deep and while there are some tonal variations in colour on some tiles owing to their handmade production in two tile moulds, this only adds further to the charm of these heritage 133 year old tiles. A small number of tiles bear groutable chips and edge nibbles in what is a very pleasing antique patina and the high resolution photographs in the gallery are of a random selection of the floor.
The sister floor, manufactured by Villeroy Boch, Mettlach, is in a similar palette, is also available and details can be found if you click here We have included a photo in the gallery of 6 tiles from both floors to show their slightly different design and palette; to the left the Villeroy Boch Mettlach and to the right this Boch Freres Maubeuge. Integration of the two floors would be possible as the tiles are the same size.
Total surface area:- 12.5m2 / 135sq ft. 34.6 tiles per m2.
Being a highly fired tile they can be laid inside or outside of the home but with the additional advantage of a relief surface would also lend themselves to laying on a patio, in summer house, a garden path or entrance path.
Tile quantities (give or take one or two):-
Field tiles – 339 - 9.8m2 / 106 sq ft.
Large border tiles – 93 - 2.7m2 / 29 sq ft or 15.8 linear metres / 51.8 linear feet
plus some free tile rejects to use as offcuts
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.