Tiled Room upstairs

With the renovation of the old “Haus zum Lindenbaum“ in the 1960s, a worthy place of exhibition was found for the valuable collection of Dutch ceramics tiles, which were donated by the Aachen art collectors, Peter and Irene Ludwig. The collection is divided into two rooms. The room upstairs houses magnificent ceramic pictures. The room downstairs shows a large selection of various tile decorations – almost like a pattern-book.

In the room upstairs, which can be reached via a wooden staircase from an old house on Peterstraße, there are precious tile pictures mostly with manganese ornamental painting. The “Four Seasons” tiles were created in the Rotterdam manufacturer Aalmis. Following the Rococo paintings of Antoine Watteau and François Boucher, the allegory Spring depicts a young squire with bagpipes and a dog courting the favour of a shepherdess, who, like a flower goddess, is leaning on a basket swollen with spring flowers. Summer is symbolised by the ripe sheaf of corn, added to the second picture of the shepherd and shepherdess. In the autumn picture the shepherdess, this time as the goddess Ceres, pours grapes from the hat of her companion, who embraces her with his right arm, while his left hand reaches for the fruit. A vine with grapes and leaves border the lower edge of the picture. The seasonal cycle closes with a barren winter landscape where two putti warm themselves at a fire, a third approaching with a bundle of firewood.

The pleasurable allegories of the seasons of the year are set in a garlanded architectural frame on the lower side of which there is the signature of the Rotterdam fayence painter, Johannes Aalmis the Younger (*1714). Aalmis was a member of the board of directors of the St. Lucas Guild from 1740 to 1753; from 1755 to 1790 he managed the family business which above all became famous for its large frescos in manganese violet.

Tiled Room downstairs

In the room downstairs there are tiles from the 16th-19th centuries arranged in groups of four as in a pattern-book or rapport. The oldest are from the Asian-Islamic region (lustre tiles, Persia, 16th century). Tiles as wall panelling were introduced in the Netherlands in the 16th century by the Spanish, who were influenced by the Islamic culture. In the late 17th and early 18th century the Dutch manufacturers, especially in Rotterdam and Delft, reached their artistic pinnacle.

Apart from the cobalt blue decor on a white background, which was modelled on East Asian porcelain, manganese violet decor prevailed greatly in the 18th century. Original drawings, such as playful putti or balancing acrobats doing headstands are represented, as are the typified landscapes with windmills, ships and farm houses, biblical scenes and allegories. Ornaments were set together on four tiles to form a textile rapport, which could be continued indefinitely. Using paper stencils into which the contours of the drawings were perforated (“Sponsen”), the drawing was copied with coal dust onto the tin-glazed tiles and painted over using thin brushes.

The brown tiles painted in beige, here with the Flemish lion, are typical for the Tongeren region. Moorish tiles, on the other hand, show an exotic animal kingdom, for example a camel. In the biblical themes a crucifixion image and the Wedding at Cana, documented with the bible reference IOAN:2:4, are illustrated. A representation of King David is titled EST:5:7.