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Paul Bommer’s Delft Tiles

April 23, 2012
by the gentle author

Spitalfields Life Contributing Artist Paul Bommer has painted one hundred and twenty faux delft tiles that will be displayed in the living room of an eighteenth century house in a new exhibition – opening at 15 Wilkes St on Friday night and running through next weekend. Paul’s sly witty style is perfectly at home on tiles, bringing an extra level of humour and sophistication to this appealing vernacular art.“I’ve always been fond of delft tiles and the graphics of that period,” he admitted to me, “it’s like Folk Art at the low end, a popular medium illustrating the characters people knew and the things they used.” Many of the tiles that Paul has created were directly inspired by stories on Spitalfields Life and it is my pleasure to publish a selection here. Be sure to come along to Wilkes St and see the rest for yourself.

The former Whitechapel Mount, claimed by some to be a primeval earthwork of mystical significance, by others to be a spoil heap from digging the City’s eastern defences during the English Civil War.

The Cobblers of Spitalfields

At the Fish Harvest Festival

Rob Ryan, Papercut Artist

Steve Benbow, Urban Beekeeper

Stanley Rondeau, Huguenot

Shakespearian Actors at St Leonard’s Shoreditch

James Ince & Sons, Umbrella Makers

With Jack London at Frying Pan Alley

Tubby Isaac’s Jellied Eels Stall

The Ceremony of the Widow’s Buns at Bow

Ben Eine, Street Artist

The Ship & Blue Ball in Boundary St where they planned the Great Train Robbery.

Peter Hardwicke, London’s last signwriter working by eye.

Jewish Soup Kitchen, Brune St

John Twomey Fencing Champion & landlord of the Ten Bells.

Alex Guarneri, Cheesemonger at Andruoet

The Grapes at Limehouse.

At Three Colts Lane

The owl is the symbol of the town of Holt in Norfolk, home of Old Town, the clothing company that hold regular fittings for their London customers in Spitalfields.

The Duke of Wellington

In Rhyming Slang “Butcher’s Hook” = Look

In Rhyming Slang “Titfer” = Hat

You may also like to read about

Simon Pettet’s Tiles at Dennis Severs’ House

A Fireplace in Fournier St

John Moyr Smith’s Tiles

14 Responses leave one →
  1. April 23, 2012

    I love these. Thank you so much for showing us this amazing selection.

  2. April 23, 2012

    Wonderful tiles. I wish I were there to see them in person. Next year perhaps!

  3. Chris Dyson permalink*
    April 23, 2012

    beautiful clarity simple and humorous illustrations, can we purchase? thank you again and what a joy to read this blog on a monday morning.

  4. April 23, 2012

    Thank you. Yes, they will be for sale at the opening on Friday.

  5. April 23, 2012

    Wonderful! I hope they’ll be on show other than in this very brief window of opportunity at the weekend?

  6. April 23, 2012


  7. April 23, 2012

    Excellent! Definitely going to get along to this – see you Friday!

  8. Teresa Stokes permalink
    April 23, 2012

    You left out the rhyming slang for cobbler’s awls = balls, as in “what a load of cobblers” lol

  9. April 23, 2012

    Truly beautiful and wonderfully witty tiles. The two of you are giving such a gift to the community. Thank you both.

  10. Marina B permalink
    April 23, 2012

    Absolute masterpieces! Treasures! Thanks for sharing them with us!

  11. sue permalink*
    April 23, 2012

    You star, i was looking for a contemporary take on delt tiles to inspire some kids!
    They will love it as i do
    well done

  12. Stephen Mahon permalink
    May 1, 2012

    I am unfortunaely an infrequent visitor to Spitalfields a place that enchanted me the first time I stayed there and through Spitalfields Life continues to do so. I have half an hour each day to read the blog and it fills me with joy to see and read the things i can’t yet experience( but will!!). Mr Bommers tiles are beautiful and witty and I cant choose a favourite….
    Thank you for my daily smile :0)


  13. andee permalink
    May 2, 2012

    Will the tiles be available for on line purchase in the future?

  14. June 5, 2012

    These are gorgeous – I love the faux cute style (almost suitable for a children’s book but equally quite grown-up).

    Whilst not wanting to diminish the exclusivity of quality craftsmanship, I’d love to be able to buy a full set in B&Q to tile my entire bathroom with – a long soak in the bath reading all about East London life sounds amazing.

    Would love you to consider featuring some of the Victorian sporting heroes that were around during Wanderers’ time – CW Alcock, F Marindin, E Cobb-Morley, AF Kinnaird, CB Fry, ‘Fatty’ Foulkes, Cpt. Webb, WG Grace, etc.

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