The History of French Provincial Wall Tiles in Australia

This category is an acknowledgement of the many cultures throughout history that have made an invaluable contribution to the science, technology and/or the aesthetics of ceramic tiles that are not directly associated with the 19th & early 20th century Anglo Australian ceramic tile experience - such as French Provincial.

The term French Provincial refers to the interior decor styles of France's provinces in the 17th & 18th centuries. These generally lacked the resources of grand, ornate furniture and finishes, hence the look is a pared-down version of refined 'town' furniture, etc. Materials were local and rustic, colours taken straight from the surrounding environment - yellows, greens, rusty red and blues from azure to cobalt - as were the themes and motifs, executed in a simple, unpretentious manner.

The ornamentation and decorative motifs relevant to the French Provincial tiles style had much to do with daily life: shells stood for fertility, flowers and fruit symbolized divine grace. Prosperity was represented by wheat, grapes and coins, while love, naturally, appeared in the shape of a heart, a dove or an arrow.

The look is eclectic, combining traditional elements with French colonial influences and the rustic life of the French countryside. This melange of influences nevertheless manages to avoid the cluttered look of an antique shop, through careful selection and editing. While there is a strong undercurrent of nostalgia, it is nostalgia for a vague, ill-defined past, not the rigorous devotion to a specific period and its restoration.

The basic decorating strategy is one of co-ordination; not a lifeless, relentless matching of colour and pattern, but instead a reliance on an affinity of design and tone. The essential feel should be relaxed, unaffected, with signs of wear tolerated as part and parcel of life.

"The French Provincial style is decorative and much of the enjoyment and enthusiasm of the look is expressed in the use of pattern. There is a rich source of traditional and ethnic designs to choose from, not forgetting that pattern can also be expressed in floor designs (such as terracotta, mosaics or simple tessellated patterns e.g. octagon & dot or checkerboard).

The use of texture in French Provincial interiors is a way of expressing a connection with the countryside, rustic life and the past. A sense of honest simplicity can be evoked with natural surfaces, such as stone, terracotta and timber to complement the hand-painted ceramic tiles.

In each area of the home there are certain classic solutions. Black and white checkered tiles are the hallmark of the traditional French kitchen; alternatively, for a warm country look - terracotta or tumbled stone slabs, both of which age elegantly. Mosaic tiling has the same sort of resonance in the bathroom, in black and white, pale green or cream and white. Terracotta, stone and porcelain tiles often feature in hallways, making a practical and durable entrance floor.

Most Hand Painted tiles are done to order and can take 3 to 5 weeks before delivery pick up is organized.

1/ All tiles in the “The French Provincial Collection” are original OETA designs. Any unauthorized copying will incur legal action.
2/ All tiles in the OETA “The French Provincial Collection” are hand-painted. Variations from tile to tile are an inherent characteristic of these tiles and add to their charm. No claims will be considered based on variations of colour or motif details.
3/ All designs are available on 100 x 100mm white or vanilla unless otherwise stated.
4/ Designs marked with a + are available with square corners only. All other designs are available with round corners or square corners with ripple surface.
5/ The glazes used to decorate tiles in the “The French Provincial Collection” are 100% lead free.
6/ OETA reserves the right to alter or discontinue designs in the “The French Provincial Collection” without prior notice.

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