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California Art Tile Company aka Clay Glow Tile Company

American, b. 1922

California Art Tiles
circa 1930

15.68 x 3.84 x 1 in.
Museum Purchase with the Charter Member Endowment Fund

Between 1910 and 1940, California was the leading producer of architectural terra-cotta tile in the United States, with more than forty companies producing tiles for bathrooms, kitchens, fireplaces, etc. Works produced by the California Art Tile Company are distinctive, because they are not brightly colored or highly glazed. Their subdued colors and earth tones result in the mellow, “soft” look seen here, consistent with the handmade aesthetic of the Arts and Crafts movement. Tiles produced by this company are among the premier examples of artistic tile produced during the California Arts and Crafts period. Terra-cotta tile has remained a constant in California since the Spanish colonists, but it experienced a revival after the popular 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego.

James White Hislop (1860–1932) and his two sons founded the California Art Tile Company. His father and grandfather were noted clay craftsmen in Scotland. Hislop came to California in 1884, working at Gladding McBean in Lincoln, California, which manufactured sewer pipe and architectural elements, but not tile at that location. After seventeen years there, and another twenty years in brick and pottery companies in Stockton, California, Hislop settled in Richmond. He founded the Clay Glow Tile Company with his sons in 1922.

Billie Sessions, PhD.

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