Skip Navigation

Salesman's Sample of Kensington Tiles

Decorative Arts and Design

These extremely rare “paper tiles” were made for a company that also produced molded tiles. The very convincing paper versions of glazed earthenware tiles were probably made by pressing paper on an actual ceramic tile and then painting and lacquering them. “Paper tiles” may have been used in showrooms or by traveling sales representatives as lightweight and unbreakable samples.
MEDIUM Composition board
  • Place Manufactured: New York, United States
  • DATES 1883–1888
    DIMENSIONS 5 13/16 x 5 13/16 x 1/4 in. (14.8 x 14.8 x 0.6 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS on white paper label pasted on back with orange print with vertical floral arrangement on left edge and reads in center: " KENSINGTON / . TILES. / MANUFACTURED BY / S. VAN CAMPEN & CO. / NEW YORK." Below is a trademark with in rococo cartouche flanked by "TRADE / MARK" and within cartouche is: "S ...VC / & / Co.". (see file)
    SIGNATURE no signature
    INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Kevin L. Stayton
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Tile made of embossed composition board, varnished with transparent ochre-colored varnish. The composition consists of a gaunt elderly man in profile, facing to the right edge of tile. The hollowed-cheek figure has a beard and mustache, his eyes heavy-lidded, and wearing a stocking cap. The figure is in very high relief. Impressed in front: "The / Lean / & / Slip / peered / Pantaloon". Imprinted in bottom, center edge is: "S. Van Campen (indistinct lettering) N.Y." CONDITION - Good; warped, bowing in the center. Varnished surface is cracked, most notably on the highest areas of relief, such as cheekbones, slipper cap and brows.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION S. Van Campen & Company. Salesman's Sample of Kensington Tiles, 1883–1888. Composition board, 5 13/16 x 5 13/16 x 1/4 in. (14.8 x 14.8 x 0.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Kevin L. Stayton, 88.155.5 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 88.155.5_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 88.155.5_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
    This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement. You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.