Friday, March 19, 2010

Virtual Field Trip: Fonthill Museum and Moravian Tile Works

A few weeks ago we visited the Fonthill Museum in Doylestown, Bucks County, PA. Although this is fairly close to home, I'd never been there before ... but we'll definitely go back.

Here's the short version of its history (click to read more):
Built between 1908-1912, Fonthill was the home of Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930). Archaeologist, anthropologist, ceramist, scholar and antiquarian, Mercer built Fonthill both as his home and as a showplace for his collection of tiles and prints.
Fonthill exterior

The building itself is simply amazing.  Constructed of reinforced poured concrete, it contains more than 40 rooms, each one unique.  But not only that:  the walls, floors, and ceilings are embellished with decorative tiles from Mercer's travels and from his own Moravian Pottery & Tile Works.

Visitors aren't allowed to take photos inside Fonthill, so the rest of my photos are from the Tile Works.  This is just a tiny sampling of some types of tiles that are displayed inside Fonthill.  Henry Mercer believed that tiles should tell a story, so keep an eye out for scenes from American history.
oak leaves mosaic

fireplace and Columbus mosaic


Woman Dipping Candles mosaic

Tiles of the New World

These last photos are from the exterior of the Moravian Pottery & Tile Works building.
Moravian Tile Works exterior

If you live or travel in the area, I encourage you to visit Fonthill.  (We haven't yet visited the Mercer Museum, but I would imagine that it's equally impressive.)  Visit the museum website for details and directions. If you plan to visit the Tile Works, note that there's a discount coupon on their website. If you live nearby and plan to visit Fonthill and the Mercer Museum, it might be worth considering a membership in the Bucks County Historical Society. (I'm not trying to sell anything; DH and I decided that, for us, the value of the membership exceeded its cost, so we joined.)
If you're not in the area but would like to learn more about Henry Mercer and his accomplishments, you can read more at these links:
Disclosure: None. We just thought this place is so cool, I wanted to share it with you!

1 comment :

  1. Oh wow that is so pretty and cool! I would love to visit, the boys wouldn't but me this is perfect!!


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