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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

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.


5 comments:

  1. This is so informative, Susanne. I really think you should send it to the museum, when you've finished it. It would be a great catalogue.

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