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Fireplace Tiles, from the John J. Meacham House, University City, Missouri

Frederick Hurten Rhead, American (born England), 1880–1942
Agnes Rhead, American (born England), born 1877
with the Art Academy of the American Woman's League, University City, Missouri, 1909–1911
Glazed earthenware
Made in
University City, Missouri, United States, North and Central America
Architectural elements
Current Location
On View, Gallery 332
assembled: 50 x 95 1/2 in. (127 x 242.6 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Shop Fund, Friends Fund, gift of the Norman Family in loving memory of Isaac and Elva Norman, and funds given by Mr. and Mrs. L. Max Lippman Jr.
Public Domain
Object Number
This fireplace features a panoramic landscape of flowing lines and glowing colors made from incised glazed tiles surrounded by nearly 200 blue-green matte tiles. Agnes and Frederick Rhead created this set of tiles for the home of John J. Meacham in University City, Missouri. The expansive landscape is depicted at dusk, with a cloud-filled sky beyond a screen of trees, rocks, and plants. The tiles were installed in Meacham's living room inglenook, a built-in seating area surrounding the hearth, which was a popular feature of Arts and Crafts homes from the 1870s until the 1920s. The graphic clarity and matte-textured glaze palette seen in these tiles are hallmarks of Arts and Crafts design. In 1910 and 1911 Frederick Hurten Rhead, who had trained in England, joined the internationally renowned ceramic faculty of the Art Academy of the American Woman’s League in University City. He taught and worked at the school, at times with his wife Agnes, also a trained potter.
1911 -
John J. Meacham, 7407 Melrose, University City, MO, USA [1]

- 2001
Isaac and Elva Norman, 7407 Melrose, University City, MO; their sons, Thomas, Eric and John Norman, by inheritance

2001 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, acquired by purchase and gift from Thomas, Eric and John Norman [2]

[1] The artist inscribed Meacham's name and the date of 1911 in an unglazed reserve on a tile on the fireplace surround, installed at 7407 Melrose Avenue, University City, Missouri.

[2] Bill of sale dated November 30, 2001 [SLAM document files]. Fireplace tiles were removed from 7407 Melrose in May 2002 [Notice of Incoming Shipment receipt E11679, May 8, 2002, SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Collections Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, December 4, 2001.
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