Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Identifying Tile Topped Tables

We've been lucky enough recently to pick up a huge collection of vintage tile topped tables, almost certainly the largest in the UK and whilst cleaning them up and doing a bit of studying it became obvious that there's not a huge amount of definitive information out there.
Here's an attempt to compile what info there is, to iron out any contradictions and to clear up a few misconceptions. I'll also post a few links to some of the gems we have available.

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Let me also say that we welcome additional comments and corrections!

Lets start with one of the more common names you'll see - Adri (Adri Belgique) A Belgian firm active mainly through the 1960's.  Their tables are usually signed, with the manufacturers name rather than any of the several designers they must have used judging by the variety of their abstract patterns.

     Photo's from 1stdibs and Pamono    

As any name or signature is painted on before firing the tiles, it doesn't always come out as legible as on the table above. What would be the chances of identifying a name from the four blobs on one of the sailing boat tables below? The base of these tables, incidentally, is very common to Adri, straight squared chrome legs attached to a black metal base. 


This pair highlight one of the attractions of tile topped tables, with each one being individually hand painted no two are the same. Notice the differences in shading and lines between the two. It's conceivable that the image was designed by an Adri employee and the two tables painted by different artists.
Signatures on tables add to their value as they give a little provenance, some of the most sought after designs carry the name of Belarti. Here's a couple of examples 

Tables with this name tend to be on good quality chrome bases and feature abstract, colourful designs which could easily pass for modern art.  In fact, though the signatures tend to be consistent, the designs can vary wildly.  
Is it possible that, in fact, they were designed by more than one person?

Although many sellers will confidently state that tiles were designed by a Belgian artist named Juliette Belarti, it seems actually that there was no such person and that the name was short for 'Belgian Artists' and created by a ceramicist named Julien de Covemaeker who had a studio in Ostende, Belgium.
Other items we have in store only cause further confusion. Compare the table Denisco tiled table on the right with the one below, signed Belarti.
Unless there was some flagrant copying going on, it seems highly likely that the same artist painted both of these. 
Denisco (or DeNisco/De Nisco) was an Italian ceramicist though the 60's/70's

Although there are several DeNisco tables to be found (with huge variations in style and signature) very little information is to be found as to the person behind the art.

Could Belgian Covemaeker posing as Belarti be designing for an Italian firm while posing as DeNisco? 

One particularly sought after design is often referred to as the 'Starburst' pattern, a Belarti specialty as seen on the signed example
on the right (sold recently on Roomscape)
We have a stunning example of a Starburst tiled table pictured above 
This particularly gorgeous table is signed Vigneron a tile making firm whose only other examples of tile art I've found are embedded into sideboards rather than tables.
So did Belarti/Covemaeker design for Vigneron? 

One interesting point that can help with identification is that the tile makers weren't generally also the base makers.  It's probable  that whoever originally sold the tables would have commissioned the tiles and bases separately and married them independently. This would explain the frequent confusion with similar styles and varying signatures

If you can't identify the tiles, flip the table over and see if there's a mark or label on the base. Here's an example where the base is made by, still trading, Belgian firm Metakor. The table itself, whilst presumably also Belgian, has a still unidentified signature. 

You can't win ''em all!

Stepping away from Western Europe for a moment, the Scandinavians had their own take on tile topped tables, typically more understated and usually using wood instead of steel. Here's a gorgeous Danish example designed by Tue Poulsen for Mobler. Details HERE

..and our earliest example, an English Conran designed table bought in 1956.
More details HERE 

Thanks for reading, let me leave you with an invitation to contribute or correct any errors via the comments
Here's two final images of tables we have instore and online which whilst beautiful and even familiar, are both unsigned and remain stubbornly unidentified!
Details HERE and HERE

Breaking news..........this is an image from a 1968 Belarti catalogue apparently showing an image of the man himself.
Any further information most welcome!


  1. Fantastic read, very informative, a much unknown area and such gorgeous pieces of art, thanks for sharing your knowledge on them :-)

  2. A contribution here from Design Market mentioning Roger Capron who had the courtesy of being a real person and having a clear signature!

  3. I have a nest of tables very similar to your Belarti picture but in different colours. There is no signature or makers label. Thanks for the site,very interesting.

  4. I have one with a crab lobster and fish on and the signature is hard to read but looks like boli havnt been able to find out anything more

    1. That could be Adri? see the 'blobs' on the ship table at the top of the blog

  5. Design and print furniture catalog is a work that any business or interior design business need to invest because the biggest feature of the interior is the need for large space for display.

    in catalogue sản phẩm nội thất

    Nhận In catalogue tại Bắc Ninh

    công ty in catalogue tại hải dương

    in catalogue giá rẻ hà nội

  6. N.V. in the catalog page you added likely stands for naamloze vennootschap. The NV company is the Belgian equivalent of the public limited company and the abbreviation comes from the Dutch name (naamloze vennootschap). This is a type of company that is mainly preferred by large companies because of the larger incorporation costs. If so, the first paragraph might translate as: And in May 1968 the public limited company BELARTI was founded which allowed a further development of what can best be described as "artisanal production”. Production being increased, but this does not change the fact that everything is still "manual labor" and that "industrial counterfeiting" is excluded.

  7. When I looked closely at the picture i was surprised to see the cock statue on the table , witch i bought some 12 years ago . on the bottom it signed as J.F.Belarti .
    The statue is about 42 cm and bright orange .

  8. I did the same translation of the complete page as Richard did just above and came to the same conclusion that Belarti was a limited company. Thus it is very likely that the picture of the man on the page is just the CEO or some Marketing Director.

  9. Hie, I have a tile topped table without signature and try to find the author or the brand. I strongly think it s a Belarti but i m not 100 % sure (I couldn t find a strictly matching piece).If you like to help me giving your opinion where may I send you a picture of the piece? Better send me your answer at:


  10. Hi. Are these ADRI tables sought after ? I have one from my parents and I wonder if it's worth more than the 70's vibe that it's filled with :-)