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Tring Tiles

Reproduction of the "cartoon strip" style of Medieval tiles, found probably in Tring, telling the stories of the childhood adventures of Jesus, according to the Apocraphal Gopsels of Pseudo-Matthew and the Arabic Infancy Gospels. 

I have become somewhat obsessed with these marvellous images, and have started to recreate a full storyboard. This has meant re-creating the missing images using the Selden Supra 38 manuscript for inspiration. All the colour tile images are ones I have made. If they do not refer to the V&A or British Museum, then they are my own design.

Both the stories and the tiles are not well known. But they are delightful. Jesus gives his teachers some cheek, and when he gets slapped, the teacher "drops dead". In fact, so many people "drop dead" and then, after complaints from the villagers, Jesus is pressured into resurrecting them, sometimes with a yank on the ear or a kick up the arse. It's just so wonderfully human.

So far, eight complete tiles are in the British Museum, two in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and both have some fragments. There is always a chance that more tiles may yet be discovered. The tiles have such a charming character, I couldn't resist redrawing them as a set of drawings that I donated to the poor Tring Museum (who have reproductions as the big museums have all the originals). That way, kids could use them for colouring in.


After analysing the known tiles, I looked into the Seldon Supra 38 Manuscript held in the Bodlein Library in Oxford, which has similar themes , and ended up drawing out all the connecting images to link the stories together. The numbers follow those given by Montague Rhode James (yes, he of the ghost stories) to the Manuscript images. Most tile images here are from my imagination, but I have noted where they are from the British Museum or Victoria and Albert Museum originals.

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