Tiled Interiors on Paper: Trade Catalogues as a Key Source to Understand the Use of Floor and Wall Tiles in European Interiors

Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis


  • Mario Baeck




interior design, industrial design, architectural history, trade catalogues, ceramic wall tiles, ceramic floor tiles


The enormous popularity of decorated industrial wall and floor tiles in Europe in the years 1840–1940 is strongly linked to the standardization, technical quality, and aesthetic variety of the products that were well marketed through often lavishly colored trade catalogues.

More than the study of existing tile schemes in interiors, a systematic study of these trade catalogues leads to a better understanding of the general use of tile in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century interior. They inform us about factories and offer invaluable information on the technical and aesthetic evolution of tiles. They help us to date the designs and acquire a better knowledge of changes in taste in applying them. They are also a valuable source for documenting differences and similarities between factories and countries in matters of tile design and reveal opportunities to better understand the global export success or stylistic influence of many European factories in other countries on the continent as well as overseas.

In this paper a general and theoretical approach is elucidated by referring to concrete cases based on a research collection of more than 600 tile catalogues from all over the world.

Author Biography

Mario Baeck

post­doctoral researcher in Art History, took his doctoral degree in Art Sciences at Ghent University in Belgium in 2015 with a thesis on the development of the Belgian industrial wall and floor tile 1840–1940 in a European context. Published and lectured widely on various aspects of tile history. Is member of the editorial board and past editor of the TACS Journal – Tiles & Architectural Ceramics Society (TACS) UK. Was curator for national and international exhibitions in which the industrial floor and wall tile was put in the spotlight and is scientific advisor of the Gilliot & Roelants Tile Museum in Hemiksem near Antwerp. Is guest lecturer at Ghent University and the University of Antwerp and co­promoter of several master‘s theses in the field of conservation / restoration of architectural ceramics (Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Henry van de Velde Institute & University of Antwerp; La Cambre Brussels). He regularly advises public heritage institutions, architects and owners in Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia on tile restoration projects.

Akvilina Kripaitytė-Čiučiulkienė, Pano Kauno kavinėje „Daina“, detalė




How to Cite

Baeck, M. . (2021). Tiled Interiors on Paper: Trade Catalogues as a Key Source to Understand the Use of Floor and Wall Tiles in European Interiors: Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis. Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis, (104), 18–49. https://doi.org/10.37522/aaav.104.2022.93