Minton Tiles c. 1865 -1867
Bethesda Terrace, Central Park NYC (USA)
Manufactured in Stoke-on-Trent, England
Bethesda Terrace was designed as the formal centrepiece of Central Park, New York City. It’s affectionately known as ‘the heart of the park’. The majestic Arcade is famed for its unique Minton Tile Ceiling created with nearly 16,000 encaustic tiles made in The Potteries (Stoke-on-Trent, England) over 150 years ago.
Less well known is the ‘lost floor’ also commissioned from Minton & installed at the same time in the mid 1860s; but sadly replaced by 1911 after suffering from serious water damage & subsidence. Its intricate & distinctive pattern was formed using an estimated 45,000 bespoke encaustic & (smaller) geometric tiles.
A small consignment of the original ceiling & floor tiles will make a unique return journey from Manhattan - via Liverpool - to their ‘birthplace’ in Stoke-on-Trent as part of a transatlantic cultural (re)connection project led by Danny Callaghan (UK) & Matt Reiley (USA).
The two artists will undertake a month-long odyssey - guided by the original transit route - which aims to celebrate the historic commission & promote a contemporary conversation about the wider cultural significance & value of this magnificent ceramic masterpiece.
#OurBeth #NYC #SoT #SharedStories
Matt Reiley of New York City is Associate Director of Conservation/Senior Conservator for the Central Park Conservancy, where he & his team are responsible for the stewardship of the Park’s historic built environment. Since 2003, He has played a key role in projects including the Bethesda Terrace Arcade ceiling restoration, the Osborn Gates, the New York Obelisk (aka Cleopatra’s Needle) & the General Sherman Memorial. Matt is adjunct faculty of the Graduate School of Architecture Planning Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University & a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works (AIC). He is Director of Excelsior Art Services LLC, a conservation practice & multi-disciplinary studio providing custom design and production of artwork, restoration craft & conservation treatment for cultural resources. A dedicated sculptor, he founded AbOminOg Intl. Arts Collective in a historic foundry in Trenton, New Jersey in 1999.
Danny Callaghan is an activist & cultural entrepreneur. He works as an independent artist, public historian & creative producer. His work is focussed on engagement, identity & local distinctiveness. He is the co-founder & Director of Ceramic City Stories CIC; a small UK based non profit organisation with a focus on local, national & international shared stories related to the historic ceramic industry of Stoke-on-Trent, England. Although the focus is ceramics; it’s all about local people, community & neighbourhood. In 2017, he established CLAYHEAD Secret Museum in an historical ceramic tile works that still uses uses traditional techniques & dust presses c.1900. This unusual pop up space houses an exhibition programme of community-sourced ceramics. Danny has worked in many locations across the UK (& occasionally abroad). However, he grew up in The Potteries (Stoke-on-Trent, England) and is passionate about the history & contemporary renewal of his home city. His primary artistic & research practice reflects this (relative) obsession.
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