Mosaic, marble & minton: A tour of the tiling at Esplanade House

29 April, 2015
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entrance mainstairs 1

Flooring: Esplanade House (1887)
Waudby Road, Esplanade.

At Esplanade House, the residence of industrialist J. N. Tata, you will find three kinds of flooring on the premises- mosaic work at the entrance and on most of the floors, marble for the stairs and Minton tiles on some of the floor landings.

The residence is unusual for amount of mosaic flooring. Usually in the homes of the elite as well as in the grand civic buildings in Bombay, Minton tiling and marble predominated, while mosaic was not used or reserved for uncovered spaces like terraces.

Tata’s fondness for mosaic work could be explained as part of his wider taste in chinoiserie. His home was decorated with all kinds of Chinese artefacts and he was also fond of using Chinese silks as part of dress- on his turban and as a shawl. Mosaic tiles often comprised of bits of broken porcelain from Chinese wares like vases and plates.

Photos courtesy Jasmine Driver for Parsiana .

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