ZION CHURCH: THE VIRTUAL TOUR
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Zion and the MERCER TILES

(from a book by Cleota Reed: see here for bibliographical details http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/toc/1560.html)

Mercer's second series of modular brocade panels, THE BIBLE IN TILE, fulfilled a commission received in February 1913 [through the architect, Theodore Pietsch]  from the Zion Lutheran Church of Baltimore. The church requested two exterior wall murals in tile for an arcade that overlooks a garden. It is not clear how the subjects of the murals were decided upon, but it seems certain that the order from this long-established German-American church (founded in 1755), coming as it did just as Mercer was working on a book on German-American stiove plate designs [published as THE BIBLE IN IRON], sparked the idea for Mercer's return to the stove plates for his designs. ... 

Between 1913 and 1928, Mercer designed forty modular brocade BIBLE IN TILE panels ..., the first twenty-one in 1913.

Other BIBLE IN TILES are found in:

- St James Episcopal Church, Lancaster, PA http://www.stjameslanpa.org/index.htm

- Lancaster Theological Seminary, Lancaster, PA http://www.lts.org/index.html

 Though Mercer called his series THE BIBLE IN TILE, not all the subjects are strictly biblical. Where there are several versions of the same subject, each derives from a different stove plate.

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Mercer tiles at Zion are found in the two arches and on the floor in front of them.

The floor tiles are set in fours:

MC 122: Birds of Tintern Abbey 5 1/4 inches square.

Two facing birds flanking a tree, all within a circle. A popular medieval motif found in England and France. Exhibited at Pennsylvania Academy, 1902.

MC 255: Bona et Bene, Relief, 5 1/2 inches square 

Border bearing Latin inscription NON OMNIA SED BONA ET BENE "not all things, but good [things] and well [done]" encircles pair of Tintern birds

The small arch has a cross design with glazed 2 1/2x2 1/2 inches square tiles, among them: 5 point star, Maltese cross

for repro see here: http://www.buckscounty.org/departments/tileworks/3x3_tiles/3_decos.html

The large arch shows THE BIBLE IN TILES pieces:
(clockwise from top)

BT 10 Death of Absalom (II Samuel 18)

BT 34 The parson

BT 11 Elijah and the Ravens (I Kings 17)

BT 24 Miracle of the Widow's Oil: DAS OEL VERMERT SICH (the oil multiplies; II Kings 4)

BT 12 The Family Quarrel

BT ?    Quarrel: DER FEIND IST LOS (the enemy is on the loose)

BT 32 Samson and Delilah (Judges 16)

BT 17 The Grenadiers: FRIED (peace)

BT 17 The Grenadiers: KRIEG (war)

BT 14 The wheel of fortune: FALSCHES GLUCK (false luck)

BT 24 DAS WUNDER OEL (the miracle oil)

BT 35 The Wedding Dance

BT 23b Miracle of Cana, John 2

BT 8 David and Goliath: D UND G (I Samuel 17)

BT 23 DAS WUNDER OEL (the miracle oil) - a different version

BT 34 The Parson

BT 1 Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22)

BT 35 The Fiddler from: The Wedding Dance

BT 34 The Bride and Groom

BT 13 Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13)

BT 25 The Molten Calf (Exodus 32:8)

BT 2 Adam and Eve or Garden of Eden (Genesis 2)

BT 32 Samson with the Gate (Judges 16)

in the center:

BT 23a The Wedding at Cana: DER SEGEN DES HERREN MACHET REICH (The blessing of the Lord makes rich) IOHANNIS II (John 2)

as well as several uncataloged (?) 4x4 tiles

The numbers refer to the catalog provided in Reed (see above)

There is more information on Mercer at: http://www.tiles.org/pages/mptw/mercer.htm

The official websites of his home and the tile works are: http://www.mercermuseum.org and http://www.buckscounty.org/departments/tileworks/

 

   
BT 23a The Wedding at Cana: DER SEGEN DES HERREN MACHET REICH (The blessing of the Lord makes rich) IOHANNIS II (John 2) BT 10 Death of Absalom (II Samuel 18)
BT 34 The parson BT 11 Elijah and the Ravens (I Kings 17)
BT 24 Miracle of the Widow's Oil: 
DAS OEL VERMERT SICH (the oil multiplies; II Kings 4)
BT 12 The Family Quarrel
BT ?    Quarrel: DER FEIND IST LOS (the enemy is on the loose) BT 32 Samson and Delilah (Judges 16)
 

BT 17 The Grenadiers: FRIED (peace)

<MISSING IMAGE, MUST BE ADDED LATER>
BT 17 The Grenadiers: KRIEG (war)

 

BT 14 The wheel of fortune: FALSCHES GLUCK (false luck) BT 24 DAS WUNDER OEL (the miracle oil)
BT 35 The Wedding Dance 23b Miracle of Cana, John 2
BT 8 David and Goliath: D UND G (I Samuel 17) BT 23 DAS WUNDER OEL (the miracle oil) - a different version
BT 34 The Parson BT 1 Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22)
BT 35 The Fiddler from: The Wedding Dance BT 34 The Bride and Groom
BT 13 Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13) BT 25 The Molten Calf (Exodus 32:8)
BT 2 Adam and Eve or Garden of Eden (Genesis 2) BT 32 Samson with the Gate (Judges 16)
   
   

There is good info on Mercer at http://www.tiles.org/pages/mptw/mercer.htm
The official websites of his home and the tile works are:
  http://www.mercermuseum.org and http://www.buckscounty.org/departments/tileworks/

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