Architectural terracotta

Architectural terracotta

Terracotta, in its unglazed form, became fashionable as an architectural ceramic construction material in England in the 1860s, and in the United States in the 1870s. It was generally used to supplement brick and tiles of similar colour in late Victorian buildings.

It had been used before this in Germany from 1824 by Karl Frederich Schinkel. Henry Cole, secretary to the Science and Arts Department of the UK adopted terracotta for the building which is now the Victoria and Albert Museum (1859-71) and then the Royal Albert Hall (1867-71), both in London. Alfred Waterhouse used it in his designs when in business in Manchester from 1853 and London from 1865. He used a combination of buff and blue-grey terracotta in his Natural History Museum in London.

The colour of terracotta varies with the source of the clay. London clay gives a pale pink or buff colour, whereas the Ruabon (North Wales) clay gives a bright red.

Terracotta had the advantage of being cheap and light. It was adaptable to mass-production techniques for stock shapes, although the plaster moulds had a limited capability for re-use. Additionally it could be freely worked by craftsmen to make custom-sculptured adornments and plaques. It was accepted as a material by the Arts and Crafts movement because despite seeming a mass-produced material it was hand made and designed by craftsmen. It had a manufacture time of about eight weeks and each piece had to be made over-size to allow for shrinkage as the clay body dried. To avoid cracking the pieces had to be quite thin. They were filled with concrete as they were applied to buildings.The disadvantage of terracotta, apart from its rather uniform colour in a given district, was that it was not easy to keep clean. Town smoke made it blacken. A more modern phenomenon is the growth of naturally seeded plants and small trees which grow in the nooks and crannies of the intricate designs high above the streets now that the Victorian pollution has gone.

Terracotta went out of fashion from around the 1890s, giving way to glazed terracotta, or faience as it is known in Britain, which does not attract grime and is easy to clean, giving way to a more colourful architecture.


*Burmantofts Pottery
*Gibbs and Canning Limited

ee also

*Glazed architectural terra-cotta


"Brick - A World History", James W P Campbell & Will Pryce, 2003, ISBN 0-500-34195-8

External links

* [ Article on terracotta in "Victorian and Edwardian Terracotta Buildings"]
* [ "Understanding and Conserving Terracotta" - Dr Michael Stratton]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Architectural sculpture in the United States — Architectural sculpture is a general categorization used to describe items used for the decoration of buildings and structure. The term encompasses both sculpture that is attached to a building and free standing pieces that are a part of the… …   Wikipedia

  • terracotta — /tɛrəˈkɒtə / (say teruh kotuh) noun 1. a hard, usually unglazed earthenware of fine quality, used for architectural decorations, statuettes, vases, etc. 2. something made of this, especially a work of art. 3. a brownish orange colour like that of …  

  • Majapahit Terracotta — Majapahit piggy bank Majapahit Terracotta is the terracotta art and craft dated from Majapahit era circa 13th to 15th century. Significant terracotta earthenwares artifacts from this period were discovered in Trowulan, East Java. Over the years… …   Wikipedia

  • List of architectural vaults — The following is a list of arched structures known in architecture as vaults.* Ambulatory vault – the covered portion of the covered passage around a cloister. Often written in the context of an ambulatory vault mosaic. * Annular vault – A Barrel …   Wikipedia

  • Janes & Leo — The New York based architectural firm of Elisha Harris Janes and Richard Leopold Leo (1871/72 26 September 1911), working as Janes Leo from 1898 to 1911, designed and built numerous Beaux Arts residential structures in New York City, both richly… …   Wikipedia

  • Gibbs and Canning Limited — was an English manufacturer of terracotta and, in particular, architectural terracotta, based in Glascote, Tamworth and founded in 1847.The company manufactured a wide range of terracotta and faience: statues of lions and pelicans to adorn the… …   Wikipedia

  • Manchester Town Hall — Manchester Town Hall …   Wikipedia

  • Giampietro Campana — Carte de visite of Giampietro Campana Giampietro Campana (1808 – 10 October 1880), created marchese di Cavelli (1849), was an Italian art collector who assembled one of the nineteenth century s greatest collection of Greek and Roman sculpture and …   Wikipedia

  • Burmantofts Pottery — was the common trading name of a manufacturer of ceramic pipes and construction materials, named after the Burmantofts district of Leeds, England.The business began in 1859 when fire clay was discovered in a coal mine owned by William Wilcox and… …   Wikipedia

  • George B. Post — George Browne Post (December 15, 1837 ndash; November 28, 1913) was an American architect trained in the Beaux Arts tradition. Biography Post was a student of Richard Morris Hunt (1858 60), but unlike many architects of his generation, he had… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”