The two quadrant tiles are painted in purple with biblical scenes from the New Testament. The left one shows Christ carrying the cross (Mat. 27:31b, 32), the right one St Peter’s denial (Mat. 26:75a). The curved side is painted with flowers and scrollwork, the straight sides are unpainted. The underside is glazed plain white.
Dimensions: left quadrant: length 23,7 cm / 9.33 in., width 18,9 cm / 7.44 in., thickness 1,9 cm / 0.74 in.; right quadrant: length 23,4 cm / 9.21 in., width 18,7 cm / 7.36 in., thickness 1,9 cm / 0.74 in.
Condition: left quadrant (with Christ): tile broken in three pieces and restored, the short straight side with restorations along the rim, damage to the glaze of the upper and lower portions of the curved side. Right quadrant: the whole short straight side with a restoration of approximately 1 cm, large part of the 90˚ corner restored, hairline crack.
Provenance: these quadrant tiles were found in a house on Hogendijk in Zaandam (Pluis 1994, p. 37).
Besides this pair, only three others are known. The Holland Open Air Museum in Arnhem preserves a pair of blue and white biblical quadrant tiles, of which the right one is painted with the same theme of Christ carrying the cross. A second blue and white biblical pair is in the collection of the Dutch Tile Museum in Otterlo (inventory number DK 287 and 288). A private Dutch collection in Amsterdam has a third pair of quadrant tiles painted in purple with shepherds in a landscape. Single quadrant tiles are also known: four left and three right ones, all with biblical themes, and a fourth right one with figures in a landscape.
Quadrant tiles were specially made to be placed on either side of a fireplace at the junction of the chimney breast and the back wall (see drawing). The tiles therefore have a shape like a quarter of an oval. The straight sides were built into the wall. Candle holders could be placed on top of them for illumination. These tiles were applied in a type of fireplace called ‘smuiger’ which is typical of the Zaanstreek area just to the north of Amsterdam. For that reason all quadrant tiles are attributed to tile factories in Amsterdam. The majority seems to be painted by particular tile painter. All the quadrant tiles were manufactured in the first half of the eighteenth century. With a few exceptions, most of them are painted with biblical stories. With thanks to Jan Pluis who made the drawing available.
J. Pluis, Bijbeltegels. Bijbelse voorstellingen op Nederlandse wandtegels van de 17e tot de 20e eeuw / Bibelfliesen. Biblische Darstellungen auf niederländischen Wandfliesen vom 17. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert, Münster 1994
J. Pluis, De Nederlandse tegel. Decors en benamingen 1570-1930. The Dutch tile. Desings and names 1570-1930, Leiden 2013 (third, revised and extended edition)
Price on request