Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tile research in Valencia: part II - the Nolla factory and "palace" in Meliana

After I read about the factory in Meliana, I had to go there of course, to see what is left of it. There is a metro station "Meliana" and from the train I could already see the "castle".
The factory was built in 1860 and began to work from 1864/65.

In this old photo you can see the bottle-shaped kilns. The factory walls still stand today, the belong to Schneider Electrics, who did not let me get onto their premises.

So I walked all around it, until I came to the "palauet Nolla", the palace-showroom, where Miguel Nolla received his most important clients. The building is now in ruins and - of course - fenced off.

On the façade you can see the portrait of the founder, the picture that was also used as title of the exhibition (see post before).

In the museum they also depicted the floor plan with its different mosaics.

Only one window was not completely closed and I could get a glimpse of the floor.

As you might see it was the room on the bottom right of the plan.

Tile Research in Valencia: Part I - Nolla tiles, exhibition in the ceramics museum

This post is about ceramic tiles of the famous Mosaicos Nolla factory. There is an exhibition about those in the "Museo de la Cerámica González Martí", and since there is no catalogue, I have to write about it, while I still remember. The exhibition is open until the 6th of January 2016.

Miguel Nolla Bruget was born 22.5. 1815 in Reus, in a family of textile merchants. In 1835 he moved to Valencia and in 1839 he married Juana Sagrera Guix, a girl of high-class bourgeoisie. At first he worked in the textile industry and even had weaving looms until 1866, even in the already existing tile factory in Meliana.

Together with his father-in-law and two other merchants, he also owned "La Industrial Valenciana", a company that produced glazed tiles and other construction ceramics, like bricks and roof tiles.

The mosaic factory was established in Meliana, a locality north of Valencia, well comunicated by road and train and near the coast close to  possible shipping harbours.

Apart from the sale of his products via beautifully illustrated catalogues, he reconstructed a house next to the factory and converted it into a showroom, where he received his most important clients. In September 1871 even the king of Spain, Amadeo I de Saboya, came to visit and awarded the order "Gran Cruz de Isabella La Católica" in recognition for his work and business merits.

it was not clearly stated, whether he ever went to England or had some connection with Minton Hollins, but he was clearly influenced strongly by them. The size of the mosaic pieces was based on the inch system with the basic size being 1,5 '', that is 3,81 cm. Even the size of the bricks he produced to build his factory, had english sizes and were shorter and thicker than the normal valencians.

But in contrast to the tiles of Minton Hollins, Nolla tiles were pressed using dry, pulverized clay. Encaustic tiles had to be pressed twice, first the design with a special stamp and then the whole tile with the other colour. The traditional colours used were: black, brown, dark grey, light grey, beige, orange, red, blue and white. After the death of Miguel Nolla, when the company was managed by his sons "Hijos de Nolla", the colour scheme was greatly amplified.