The History of Spanish Tile – How You Can Enjoy a Piece of That Tradition in Your Design

porcelain talavera tileYou’ve probably seen plenty of residential and commercial design works featuring modern-day Spanish tile, with its vibrant color and intricate detail.

What you may not realize, however, is that the origins of this exquisite decorative tile dates back thousands of years, with a history as rich and colorful as the ceramic itself.

In fact, even during medieval times, tile was being extensively produced throughout Spain. Back then, the tile was primarily used for practical or utilitarian purposes, such as roofing tiles, water channels and eaves. Some were used in mosaic art, fountains and other decorative pieces. The most beautiful hand-crafted decorative tile was reserved to adorn Spanish churches and palaces.

The introduction of glazed tiles, which are enameled with metallic and glass oxides, came as a result of Islamic cultural influence that spread throughout the country.

The Spanish term for this type of decorative tile is “Majolica”, which is distinguishable by its distinct milky-white glaze. Around the 17th century, the name “Talavera” (after the Spanish ceramic center of Talavera de la Reina) also became synonymous with tin-glazed pottery.

Over time, this type of tile slowly made its way into homes across the country, where it was used in the design of floors, bathrooms, kitchens and patios.

Tiles and other ceramic pieces were eventually exported from Seville and Cadiz, first making its way throughout the Mediterranean and then later around the world.

With time, the knowledge and styles of ceramics developed in Spain diffused throughout Europe, making Spain just one of many centers of tile and ceramic ware manufacturing. One of the most well-known recipients of this tradition is Mexico, centering in the colonial capital of Puebla.

porcelain talavera tileModern-day Spanish tile ranges from elaborately decorated and colorful mosaic designs to those with options for replicating wood floors. While these tiles may be priced at a premium, they are extremely high-quality and incredibly durable. In other words, well worth the investment.

From bathroom and kitchen accent tile to exquisite wood grain looks, there are a wide variety of different finishes from which to choose. Latin Accents is proud to bring you the products of this centuries-old tradition in our extensive line of beautiful, hand-crafted Talavera tile.

Contact us today and let’s discuss how we can assist with your next project.