News Release Archive

Shand House Museum in Windsor is celebrating Museums' Day, July
13, in a special way. Gizelle Erdei, a talented tile artisan,
will be demonstrating the different steps in creating a tile.

Between 1875 and 1900, 25 tile manufacturing companies sprouted
up in  the United States and at the height of their popularity,
in 1890, Clifford J. Shand began building his house on Ferry
Hill, over looking the Avon River, in Windsor.

Shand House Museum, with its four story tower, wrap-around
verandah and numerous nook and crannies is a perfect example of
Victorian architecture. The museum is a curious blend of crafted
and manufactured furnishings. During the 1800's homes began to
look more alike because of the increase in manufactured goods
available to everyone, so people used tiles as an expression of

In Shand House, the tiles are part of the easy-to-clean hearths
as well as decoration. All six fireplaces in the house feature
tiles, each with its own colour scheme and design.

The art of tile making was completely lost for 300 years but was
resurrected in the Victorian era when architect Augustus Pagan
began the Gothic Revival in 1817. Pagan and Herbert Minton
experimented through trial and error to produce replications of
the tiles that once graced medieval floors.

The profiles on the two tiles in the in the Shand sitting room
are said to be of John Alden and Priscilla. Legend has it Alden
was the first pilgrim to set foot on Plymouth Rock. He married
the Priscilla of Longfellow's  poem "the Courtship of Miles
Standish". The poem tells the story of Alden who courted
Priscilla on behalf of Miles Standish, and ended up marrying her

All the tiles around the fireplaces, including John and
Priscilla's profiles are made of relief-moulded majolica. The
front entrance floor tiles are encaustic or inlaid. These tiles
are in the original colors of the house. The Nova Scotia Museum
intends to return Shand House to those same original colors.

Erdei studied commercial ceramics at the George Brown College of
Toronto. Immediately upon graduating she specialized in
architectural ceramics at the Nova Scotia College of Art and
Design. After graduating Erdei went to Pewabic Pottery, one of
the last tile manufacturers in North America, to take a four
month intensive course about the manufacturing of tiles.

Erdei will demonstrate the first stage of tile making, slab
rolling. She uses a rolling pin to flatten the clay into
malleable sheets from which she cuts out tiles of different
shapes. Erdei will then carve her tiles, etching a design into
the surface.


Contact: Joan Waldron     902-424-7398

         Emma McKennirey  902-424-6435

trp                  July 05, 1996 - 9:00 a.m.