This Providential Tile Works 'Gladiator' tile measures approx 6” x 6” square and 5/8” thick and was manufactured at the turn of the century. The tile features a profile cameo bust of the Warrior is in high relief, glazed in a rich tobacco glaze, with expected surface crazing, finished to a high gloss. The modeling and toning of the facial features and details of the helmet are exquisite. The makers mark is visible and clear on the obverse. Large figural tiles are scarce and very sought after. A similar tile is featured in Norman Karlson’s “Encyclopedia of American Art Tiles”
Provident Tile Works was a contemporary to Mosiac Tile Co. Hamilton Tile Co. Trent Tile Co. Joseph Kirkham, James Robinson and C. Lewis Whitehead organized Providential Tile Works in 1885, hiring modeler Isaac Broome away from Trent Tile, their only potential local competitor in Trenton, New Jersey. Like Trent, Providential produced dust-pressed, embossed tiles in mechanical, fly-wheel presses that were then colored with translucent glazes that accentuated the relief designs. Principally made to adorn fireplace mantels, many were produced in a contiguous series designed to surround a fireplace opening—as was the fashion in upscale homes in the late 19th century
The tile has been framed in a beautiful antique walnut gold gilded frame and is ready for hanging. This is an excellent specimen to add to an American art tile collection or to reclaim for use as a focal piece in a bathroom, kitchen, entryway or fireplace surround.
Do note, the high gloss makes these tiles difficult to photograph. I’ve included several shots of the front and do not mistake glare for a defect.