Reinventing Ceramics

Sourcing and using decorative and reproduction tiles.

Craven Dunnill Jackfield produces the finest quality ceramic wall and floor tiles for both the commercial and domestic interiors market. Established since 1872, today we continue to combine modern, with traditional production techniques to enable the manufacture of bespoke wall, floor, decorative art and faience ceramics.

We have been producing ceramic wall and floor tiles for over 145 years and operate the oldest surviving purpose-built tile factory in the world. Located in what was once the world centre of tile production, it is now part of the World Heritage Site at the heart of Britain’s Industrial Revolution. Our flexible manufacturing techniques and highly skilled staff enable the production of bespoke ceramics for historical restoration projects and new-build contemporary commissions.

We pride ourselves in the faithful manufacture of period style tiles and features and, where possible, we use original machinery, glaze recipes, and hand decorating techniques to ensure authentic original qualities of our hand-crafted tiles.

We offer a product matching service for those customers wishing to restore an original ceramic product replicating both the format, colour, and surface finish. All tiles are hand-made to order, allowing for a tailor made service to each and every specialist project commission.

We welcome designers and clients to the factory to view the different processes and techniques where the bespoke commissions can be discussed and defined. By seeing our flexible production facility at first hand, clients have a better understanding of what can be achieved and how the Craven Dunnill Jackfield team can help you to fulfil your specific project needs.

As a result of this interactive design process the company has worked with leading interior designers and mural specialists producing large hand glazed faience pieces for designer restaurants and bars, Olympic venues, and public art projects.

At the Grade II listed, The Old Queens Head in Islington Craven Dunnill Jackfield was commissioned to manufacture a traditional faience bar but with a contemporary twist. The bar front is made from glazed ceramic pieces, in which the main tile depicts a lion’s head surrounded by ornamental egg and dart profiles, and moulded skirting tiles. All elements are glazed in the same bold semi-transparent turquoise glaze resulting in a stunning centrepiece to the room that dominates the ornate interior. The ceramic bar front is topped with a pewter counter top that co-ordinates perfectly with the turquoise glazing beneath.

Dropmore House, near Burnham, Buckinghamshire, is one of the county’s grandest Grade I-listed Georgian country houses, built by Samuel Wyatt for Lord Grenville in 1795.

Requisitioned as a headquarters for the Canadian army in 1939, Dropmore House was in a sorry state when Lord and Lady Kemsley, who bought Dropmore from Lord Grenville’s great-great-nephew in 1943, undertook a major restoration of the house and grounds in the early 1950s. The third phase of restoration at Dropmore Park involved the repair and reinstatement of iconic garden structures, such as the aviary, the ornamental Chinese tea-house (where Queen Victoria is rumoured to have taken tea), the restoration of extensive gardens, and the reclamation of the estate’s neglected woodland.

The Aviary is a cast-iron cage, with ceramic tiles imported from China around the base. These tiles also form the uprights and frieze. It has three projections with cupolas, the central of which is higher than the other two. The Aviary’s architect and date of construction are unrecorded, but John Buckler’s sketch dated 1830 appears to be very accurate, as are his sketches of the rest of the estate.

The restoration of the faience aviary ceramics required five different types of ceramic tiles to match the original Chinese made faience pieces, which form the uprights and frieze. Little was known in terms of how the original pieces had been manufactured and most of the original pieces had been damaged during removal, leaving very little original material to work with.

Hollow pieces were required to ensure the tiles were not too heavy for the cast-iron cage and several different glazes were applied in order to match the original turquoise and green mottled tones.

At Oldham Town Hall Craven Dunnill Jackfield was commissioned to manufacture matching wall tiles to restore the original tiling in the Egyptian Room and anti rooms. The project comprised over 55 different tile types and 2,000 decorated and plain field tiles, which all required precise matching to the surviving Pilkington originals.

For most of the 55 designs, new moulds needed to be made as many of the tiles are unique sizes and embossed with a variety of decorative features. Striking, tile-clad pillars dominate the room, for which Craven Dunnill Jackfield produced three variations of the embossed, yellow leaf design to cater for the tapered dimensions. For the base of each pillar, eight different styles of tiles were required; all with intricate embossed detailing.

The Greek Key pattern around the upper section of the room’s walls likewise required the creation of numerous moulds to accommodate the left and right window reveals. This running border also involved the hand-manufacture of bulb-glazed, square tiles in two colours, accurately matched in hue. Rising towards the ceiling is a band of plain yellow tiles, for which Jackfield manufactured some 1,200 replacements.

The project entailed extensive trials to ensure the seamless and historically accurate transition from original to replacement tiles, and required the approval of the designated Conservation Officer and Planning Authority. Craven Dunnill Jackfield started work on the project the summer of 2015 and the hand-manufacture of the tiles was completed a year later. Installation took a further six months.

Craven Dunnill Jackfield Ltd
Jackfield Tile Museum
Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire
T: 01952 884124