Bathrooms of the Rich and Famous

I moved to a new place recently, so I have been hitting the local consignment shops pretty hard in search of new furnishings. Thankfully, the major furniture purchases are all behind me and now all that’s left to acquire are the pictures, lamps, and other decorative bits and bobs that round a place out.* To that end, this afternoon I dropped into Estate Gallery Consignments** and stumbled across this on a back shelf:

I snapped it up because I vaguely recognized the scene as Arthurian,*** though I don’t know how exactly, as I didn’t see the name “Geraint” (which is clear as day now) until I got home. Turns out the tile depicts a scene from Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, Geraint slaying Dorm. It’s part of a 12-tile set that illustrates the full cycle, designed by John Moyr Smith around 1875 for the Minton Tile Company.**** I’m assuming mine’s a fake, but either way, I’m glad to have stumbled across it, as I’d never known till today that the Victorians sometimes tiled their washrooms with scenes of dudes with swords hacking up other dudes–Arthurian dudes or otherwise.

  1. * I’m still searching for a rug that will really tie the room together. []
  2. ** Who I’d link to if they had a webpage. If you live in Atlanta and want to visit them, go to that part of Chamblee where all the antique stores are stacked on top of each other five deep. []
  3. *** And the price as $8, well within my knickknack budget. []
  4. **** The same tile company that tiled part of the White House. []

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  • Quokkaqueen

    Arts and Crafts Movement artwork is always loely to look at!

    Incidentally, the Royal Ontario Museum has five of the tiles, in blue, including photographs of the back of them – it might help you confirm if it’s just a reproduction tile, or if it might be the real thing. 🙂


  • Judy S

    Yikes, these images are to my mind really bizarre. Vivien as a belly-dancer…? Nor does Guinevere look much like a nun, which as I recollect is her situation when Arthur reproaches her. Good luck on its being original.

  • Maria

    What REALLY ties a room together is scenes of dudes hacking up other dudes.

  • John Harding

    If you are ever over in the UK check out Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch. Lots of similarly lovely Pre Raphaelite goings on in the decoration

  • brigidkeely

    I’m thinking that instead of bathroom tiles, those would be fireplace tiles. The one you have is BEAUTIFUL.

  • Marcus

    I remember these! My parents’ bathroom had a set of copies, which I think may have been issued for the centenary of the original design in 1975.

  • Holly

    When I lived in England I frequently saw you tile(s) — I’m sure it’s not a fake.

  • Pamela Pincha-Wagener

    Actually it may be one one of the tiles – not a copy. Thrift stores often don’t catch these things.

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