Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    EDWIN AUSTIN ABBEY (American, 1852-1911)
    Procession of Ye Tilers at Long Island, 1878
    Illustration for "The Tile Club at Play," Scribner's Monthly, February 1879, Vol. XVII, No. 4.
    Ink and pencil on cardboard
    4-1/2 x 24-3/4 inches (11.4 x 62.9 cm)
    Signed with Abbey's sobriquet "Chestnut" with various inscriptions along lower edge


    Museums of Stony Brook, New York, "The Tile Club and the Aesthetic Movement in America, " October 9, 1999-January 23, 2000 (traveling thereafter to the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London, Connecticut, February 5-May 7, 2000; and the Frick Art Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 19-August 13, 2000);
    Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas, "Studiously Slangy and Bohemian: The Tile Club--Artists of America's Aesthetic Movement from the Graham Williford Collection," December 14, 2010-February 20, 2011.

    R. G. Pisano, The Tile Club and the Aesthetic Movement in America, New York, 1999, pp. 30-31, illustrated.

    Cultivating exclusivity,mystery, and the all-important bohemian air, the members of The Tile Club (1877-1887) based in New York City arguably became the first group of American-based artists to succeed in intentionally creating a "cult" of the artist. They delighted in publicity. With a tongue-in-cheek pronouncement, "Let us be decorative!" against a backdrop of America's post-Civil War "Aesthetic Movement" vogue for things decorative and beautifully-crafted, these artists gathered together at weekly soirées to paint ceramic tiles in any manner they wished.

    Although the tile-painting only lasted a few years, the Club members continued to meet for approximately a decade, engaging in bohemian antics and deeds. Important among those activities were the organized outings such as plain-air sketching trips to Long Island (1878-81) and up the Hudson River (1880). With the artists providing illustrations to the "travelogues" written by the writers of the group, their articles appeared in the popular illustrated magazines of the day (Scribner's Monthly and The Century Magazine), and captured the popular imagination for an "aesthetic" life.

    This humorous drawing by Edwin Austin Abbey records the first sketching trip made by Tile Club members on June 10,1878, to Long Island. They are shown by Abbey, whose Tile Club sobriquet was Chestnut (owing to the fact he told old stories!), wearing the enormous straw hats they all purchased in Sayville to shield themselves from the sun while sketching. The trek to their East Hampton destination was a sixteen-mile walk behind a horse-drawn carriage engaged to transport their luggage and artists' materials. The eleven artists who made the exhausting journey recorded by Abbey included (their "Tiler" sobriquets in parentheses): Edwin Austin Abbey, William O'Donovan ("O'Donoghue"), journalist William Laffan ("Polyphemus"), Robert Swain Gifford ("The Griffin"), Walter Paris ("Gaul"), Charles S. Reinhart ("Sirius"), F. Hopkinson Smith ("Owl"), Arthur Quartley ("Marine"), Edward Wimbridge ("Grasshopper"), artist-turned art critic Earl Shinn ("Bone"), and famous baritone William Baird (honorary member, "Barytone").While the group as a whole did not produce any distinct artistic style, the Club members--limited to 12 but in fact fluctuating up to 30 at one point--were some of the most notable American artists of the period including Winslow Homer, William Merritt Chase, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and Elihu Vedder.

    Condition Report*: Archivally matted and framed.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2015
    2nd Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,102

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold on May 2, 2015 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 16 days left to consign to the 2021 December 8 Nature & Science Signature® Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    As a consignor to your recent silver, art glass and fine art auction, I want you to know how pleased I am with my decision to consign with Heritage
    C. B. ,
    Leesburg, VA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search