Transfer Printed Aesthetic Movement Tile
Aesop Fable ~ Bear and Bees
Minton Hollins Staffordshire England 1870
This spectacular Aesthetic movement Victorian transferware tile measures 6 inches square. Transfer printed in a brilliant navy blue. The tile is decorated with an Aesop Fable titled The Bear and the Bees, and illustrates the bear and beehives or bee skeps in this amusing fable:
“A bear came across a log where a swarm of bees had nested to make their honey. As he snooped around, a single little bee flew out of the log to protect the swarm. Knowing that the bear would eat all the honey, the little bee stung him sharply on the nose and flew back into the log. This flew the bear into an angry rage. He swatted at the log with his big claws, determined to destroy the nest of bees inside. This only alerted the bees and quick as a wink, the entire swarm of bees flew out of the log and began to sting the bear from head to heel. The bear saved himself by running to and diving into the nearest pond.”
Moral: It is better to bear a single injury in silence than to bring about a thousand by reacting in anger.
The tile was part of a series, each with a fable from Aesop or Fontaine. The series contained more than 12 different illustrated tiles which would have been used to decorate a mantel or wall in baby’s nursery.
Made by Minton & Hollins. In 1845, Herbert Minton took Michael Daintry Hollins into partnership, and the tile-making side of the business became known as Minton Hollins & Co. Minton was at the forefront of a huge industry supplying the tile needs of institutions and churches, using industrial techniques for producing transfer printed and painted tiles. The firm produced tiles through the 19th century in a vast array of styles, many of them designed by leading artists such as Christopher Dresser, Walter Crane, John Moyr Smith, and William Wise. Aesop Fables tiles were made in several different styles, this being the rarest and most sought after.
The tile it is in great condition with only light chipping around the edges.