Quarry Farm Parlor Fireplace Tiles

In the parlor of Quarry Farm is a fireplace that features antique ceramic tiles depicting various scenes mostly from Aesop’s Fables. It is a striking feature of the house that is often commented on by visitors. The legend goes that Samuel Clemens would sit by this fireplace with his family and let his daughters would choose a new tile each night. Clemens would then make up a new story for them using the tile as inspiration. Susan Crane also used the tiles as prompts to tell stories to visiting children.

The tiles were produced between 1875 and 1900 by Minton, Hollins, & Company, a Victorian ceramic company based in Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, England. There were twelve different tiles in this series; the Quarry Farm fireplace has two of each tile, for a total of twenty-four in all.

Select a tile below to find out more about the fable it depicts. The text for each story was taken from sources in the public domain.