While the fireplaces throughout the house are all unique, the tiles decorating the fireplaces in the nurseries are more whimsical.
The night nursery features tiles from two English ceramic companies popular while the house was being built. The blue tiles come from a Wedgwood series depicting months of the year, which was designed in 1878 by Helen J.A. Miles. She was a watercolorist and book illustrator who provided many designs for tiles for Wedgwood starting in the 1870s. It is unclear why only eight months are included or why they were placed out of calendar order. The brown tiles are the “Animals of the Farm” series from Minton China Works, designed by William Wise who worked for the company from 1876 to 1889. These scenes show the work of an exceptionally skilled designer/engraver in the Realistic style popular at the time.
The tiles surrounding the fireplace of the day nursery feature nursery rhymes and fairy tales, a common theme for children’s rooms in the 19th century. Their origin is a bit of a mystery because there is no signature on the front and no extra tiles were found to examine the back for a maker’s mark. It is likely that they are hand-painted (rather than mass produced transfer-ware like the night nursery tiles) and could have been done locally or even by a family member.