History of classic mosaic tiles in Australia

Olde English Tiles Classic Mosaic Range of porcelain mosaic tiles takes its inspiration from major Australians cities in Sydney and Melbourne during the period (1880's-1930's) and allows you to restore or refurbish your home in an authentic and elegant fashion. You don't have to own a period house; the Classic Mosaic Range is equally suited to contemporary environments, including pools, flat or curved walls, and commercial and retail projects.

Though encaustic and tessellated patterned floors dominated late Victorian and Federation domestic, commercial and civic architecture, it was not the only type of floor covering on offer for heavy traffic areas. Mosaic floors, fabricated from the same material as the tessellated componentry - vitrified porcelain, became increasingly popular for pathways and verandahs as well as bathrooms.

Major civic and commercial projects, such as the Block Arcade in Melbourne, employed porcelain mosaic floors. The reasons are not hard to understand: mosaic floors were lightweight and easier to install, therefore cheaper to install. The predominantly white floors, accented with black, blue, brick red or multi-coloured patterns appeared brighter, cleaner and more hygienic in the small, poorly lit bathrooms of the period.

Though not small, a spectacular all white bathroom can be found at Werribee Park Mansion in Victoria. The large, dazzlingly bright room, with white porcelain, hexagonal mosaics on the floor and 150 x75mm and 150 x150mm gloss white wall tiles, has an undeniably modern feel to it despite the period details. Also, for all their many positive qualities, tessellated floors have a finite compositional character; organic, curvilinear shapes are almost non-existent. What mosaics offered was the ability to respond to the architectural style of a building in a more unified and aesthetically coherent way, especially when that architectural style was Art Nouveau or Art Deco, with its reliance on organic, floral shapes and exaggerated whiplash curves.

As mentioned before, tessellated floors continued to be popular well into the 1930's for the pathways and verandahs of Californian Bungalows, though the patterns were simpler and the colour palette was limited to more earthy tones. However, bathrooms, and in some cases kitchens, continued to employ the hexagonal white mosaics with black or blue contrasting accents on the floor.

The tiles used in our Classic Vitrified Mosaic Range are manufactured by Winckelmans of France. The Winckelmans range of fully vitrified mosaics is extremely durable and resistant to frost, scratching, acid, moisture absorption and impact. They are rated well above the recommended professional standards and norms. The mosaics in this collection can be used inside and out, in wet or dry environments.

Commercial projects can be customised to your specific requirements.

N.B. Images are computer generated, colours should not be taken as exact, see "Classic Vitrified Mosaic Range Colours" image for true colours. Computer colour settings can change the look of colours in the colour chart. Reference should always be made to actual tiles. Diagrams are not to scale.

The Classic Vitrified Mosaic range comes in 20 x 20mm - (20) & 50 x 50mm - (50) squares and 25 x 25mm - (25) & 50 x 50mm - (50) hexagon & 50 x 23.5mm.

Changes to highlight colours can be made with full colour indent range. Background colours remain White, Black and Light Grey.

Scroll product images to see border options

See Classic Mosaic Tiles collection