Spanish Tiles

Our antique Spanish tiles come in many guises - from the intricate, patterned and highly decorative to simple blacks, whites and reds. Some of our range are hand-made (and hand-painted) - the painstaking work of artisans; many date back to the late 19th and early 20th century encaustic floor tiles with a variety of different patterns. All - to us, at least - are very beautiful.

All our tiles from Spain are hand-sourced. Whether they're salvaged from farmhouses in Mallorca, bodegas in Guadix or monasteries in Toledo, we’ve scoured the length and breadth of the country to bring you the finest antique tiles – wherever you are.

A short history of Spanish tiles

The word for tiles in Spanish is ‘azulejos’, which stems from the Arabic word ‘zellige’. As such, they share a common ancestry with those of Portugal and Morocco, and their vibrant splashes of colour and geometric swirls and patterns, floral motifs and fertility symbols can also be detected in Italian and French tiles (with techniques being liberally shared back and forth). After the Christian reconquest, several centres of early tile manufacturing in Spain sprung up: Toledo and Talavera de la Reina (in central Spain), Valencia and Barcelona in the north east and Granada and, especially, Seville, in the south.

The ‘encaustico’ or ‘baldosa’ (ceramic tiles) were born and in these cities tiles were shipped all over the world. By the late 18th century, crude industrial centres had developed in Buen Retiro and Alcora (near Madrid) and Sargadelos (near Lugo in Galicia). Tile manufacturing had become a booming economy. Later still - from the 20th century onwards - ‘hidraulicos’ were produced; these were the natural next step for mass production. These differed from encaustic tiles in that they were made using a hydraulic press and a mould, still by hand just aided by machinery.

How to use them?

Given the countless different designs and styles, our tiles are incredibly flexible. While most of our salvaged stock was designed to be used for flooring purposes, they also work beautifully as colourful bathroom wet rooms and decorative kitchen splashbacks and worktops, to line a window seat or to go around a hearth or fireplace (for which they make a great alternative to traditional Victorian tiles).

Alternatively, they can always be used in the way they were intended: to provide you with a host of inspiring kitchen, hall and bathroom floor ideas, while in the past they’ve graced the floor of a fair few stylish restaurants and bars. They are incredibly practical and work well with under-floor heating.  

Floors aside, our wall tiles (some of which are hand-painted) are the perfect thing to make your hallway sing. We've even known them to be used outside in courtyards and patios, and on terraces, to create an indoor-outdoor feel.

However you choose to incorporate them, they are special. A little bit of history in your home.