Roberto Pozzo started his tile collection by scouring the flea markets. Since the 1970s, this enthusiast has collected no fewer than 9,000 pieces, which he has now decided to entrust to the King Baudouin Foundation in order to safeguard the collection.
Today, the Roberto Pozzo Collection is the reference for Belgian ceramic tiles, which enjoyed great success between 1840 and 1940. During this period, some thirty Belgian factories shared the production for a market that extended as far as Latin America. The main centre of production was in the former Abbey of Hemiksem, near Antwerp. With a production capacity of some 300,000 tiles per day, it is hardly surprising that a third of the Pozzo Collection came from the Gilliot factory in Hemiksem.
In addition to numerous pieces in various neo- and Art Deco styles, the collection also contains a number of extremely beautiful Art Nouveau tiles. At the end of the 19th century, such ceramic tiles, sometimes presented in the form of a panel, enjoyed considerable success. However, the style quickly fell out of favour and many houses in Brussels were either destroyed or renovated. This was why so many ceramic ensembles came to be found in antique and flea markets. Happily, the tiles with stylised floral decors were to catch Roberto Pozzo’s eye.
Roberto Pozzo’s collection is impressive not only because of its size, but also its great diversity of formats, periods, styles, types, techniques and origins. The 9,000 pieces together weigh four tons! Today this amazing collection is kept close to the very place where a large part of it was created, at the Gilliot & Roelants Tile Museum in Hemiksem.