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Minstrel tile panel: C.4-1980

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Minstrel tile panel


Maker: Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.
Designer: Morris, William
Maker: William De Morgan & Co. ((border tiles))




Tile panel in a reeded wooden frame. Two large squares tiles surrounded by a border of 40 small square tiles, mounted on glass. The border tiles are glazed in blueish-green, of varying depth. The central tiles are painted in shades of cobalt blue on a white ground, the design covering both tiles and surrounded by a thin blue framing line and reserved white border. A young minstrel in medieval dress stands, barefoot, playing a harp. Behind are two tall, stylised, bushes bearing circular fruits. The minstrel walks on grass, dotted with clumps of primrose-like flowers.


History note: The Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond Street, London, in association with Haslam & Whiteway.

Legal notes

Given by the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum with a contribution from the Victoria & Albert Museum Grant-in-Aid.

Place(s) associated

  • Bloomsbury ⪼ London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1980-02-04) by The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum


19th Century
Circa 1872 CE - 1874 CE


The minstrel is one of a series of twelve figures playing different instruments designed by William Morris, c.1867. They were produced in both tiles and stained glass, sometimes with the addition of wings, as angels. An early example is still in situ at Findon Church, Sussex, where this design appears with five other two panel minstrels above a number of floral tiles, 1867-8, three angels to each side of the altar (see Myers). A number of similar minstrel two-tile panels, decorated in blue, formed part of Morris & Co’s decoration of Novello & Co’s music shop, c.1870; and a window containing the Fitzwilliam minstrel design, set among square quarries of alternating stylised flowers,1872-74, is in the V&A collection (V&A C.679-1923). As noted by Myers, the colour of the Fitzwilliam tiles is a particularly rich blue, and the painting of the face not quite the same as the earlier versions, so this panel may be later, perhaps c.1900. It is likely that the border tiles were made by William De Morgan, and it is possible that the background also borrowed from his ‘leaf and berry’ design.

School or Style

Arts and Crafts (movement)

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Frame composed of wood (plant material) Height 46.5 cm Width 31.5 cm
Tiles composed of earthenware
Large Tiles Square 15.5 cm

Techniques used in production

Slip-coating : Earthenware, painted in blue, yellow, sage green, flesh and black enamel colours.

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.4-1980
Primary reference Number: 15391
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 9 September 2020 Last processed: Friday 29 September 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Minstrel tile panel" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-11-29 20:16:00

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