Wednesday, April 14, 2021



The term tôle, derived from the French tôle peinte, meaning “painted sheet metal,” refers to the decorative process of applying paint and lacquer to tin, initially as a way to prevent common household objects from rusting but later as a form of embellishment. In the antiques and collectibles marketplace, toleware refers to decorative objects created from metal, typically tin or thin steel, lacquered and adorned often in decorative styles such as Arts and Crafts and Pennsylvania Dutch.

This is a look I like mixed in with other stuff.  You can find a ton of this stuff, mid-century, on Ebay, Etsy, at flea markets, and you can pay a lot for the real stuff from Europe. It reminds me of spring, flowers, perfect for Mother's Day gifts.  These candlesticks are very 1970's to me.  I had a light fixture in one of my first houses that was tole and I repainted it and put it in my breakfast nook.  Wish I still had it. This stuff is very easy to repaint.




Toleware is typically tin that has been lacquered and decorated.  In Europe they refer to it as “Japanned”.  This process began in the early 18th century.  It was developed because the goal was to imitate Japanese decorative wares -lacquered black with gold detailing (thus calling it “Japanned”).  So, the early British pieces were on a black background, often with Asian scenes painted in gold.  Later, the French began making toleware in more colors, and varied themes (flowers, crests, etc).  Then the craft was popularized in the United States, especially in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country.  Your mother or grandmother probably had toleware trays or lamps. 

Here is a tray:

Love this antique box.

Another tray:

While these are not really toleware, I love the design and would be perfect in a small space, a bedroom or bath.


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