D&M Tile, Hispano-Moresque Tile
Santa Monica, CA 90405
The installation features hundreds of tiles, murals, tables, ceramics, and historic photographs from two little known Southern California tile companies, D & M Tile and Hispano-Moresque Tile. By showing the tile products of both manufacturers, side by side, the exhibition highlights the similarities and differences between the two and sheds light on some unanswered questions about the companies.
D&M Tile Company was named after John Davies and John McDonald who founded the company in 1928. John ‘Jack’ Davies, a Welshman, had been apprenticed at the Doulton & Co pottery in London, England before his migration to the US in 1910. Working first on Staten Island, his westward journey took him through Kansas, Missouri, and Spokane, Washington before arriving in Los Angeles to take up a superintendent post at Pacific Clay products. Here he experimented on the glazes and designs that would form the basis of D&M Tiles. His partner John McDonald handled D&M business and sales. D&M’s bright Moorish-inspired tiles were used at The Mission Inn in Riverside, Balboa Park in San Diego and on Grace Line ocean liners of the 1930s. The company weathered the great depression but in 1939 Jack Davies died at the age of 58. Harry Hicks of Hispano-Moresque Tile then acquired D&M’s kilns, inventory and glaze formulas.Hispano-Moresque was founded in 1927 by Harry C. Hicks, an English stained-glass maker. In what was seen as a shrewd commercial move, two years later he re-located to North La Brea Avenue, next door to the popular Arts and Crafts Building. The move attracted a discerning clientele and Hispano-Moresque tile was used in many notable buildings, including Charlie Chaplin’s offices on La Brea, Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades and Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley.
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