Richard Mohr: “Love and Clay” – San Francisco Ceramic Circle

Gunn Theater, Legion of Honor, 100 34th Ave, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94121

The San Francisco Ceramic Circle invites you to join them on Saturday October 7, 2023 for the Zoom lecture Love and Clay: The Boys, the Tiles, the Joy of Cathedral Oaks given by Dr. Richard Mohr. The link to register for the lecture is below:

When: Oct 7, 2023 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Love and Clay: The Boys, the Tiles, the Joy of Cathedral Oaks
Register in advance for this webinar:

Love and Clay: The Boys, the Tiles, the Joy of Cathedral Oaks

Building on his recently published book The Splendid Disarray of Beauty, tile historian Richard Mohr focuses on tiles that were briefly made at the Cathedral Oaks School of Art (1911–14) in the eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains across the late summer of 1912 ― some of the most beguiling, beautiful, and mysterious of all American art tiles. Less than one hundred survive.

Though exquisite of design, a constitutional majority have serious technical flaws even though the school had on staff the ceramic engineer Albert Solon, who eight years on would establish Solon & Schemmel (b.k.a., S&S), one of the finest, most technically competent tileries in America. So, mysteries abound.

The tile story is embedded in the love story of Cathedral Oaks’ founders – Frank Ingerson and George Dennison, known in their community as The Boys – for whom the School served as a honeymoon project launching the couple’s fifty-five years of love and life together. After shuttering the School in 1914, the men went on to lead a glamourous life as interior designers in Santa Barbara, Hollywood, then Paris, London, and Rome, garnering along the way many life-long friends from the worlds of art, business, and philanthropy,including Rockefellers, Olivia de Havilland, Yehudi Menuhin, Amy Du Pont, and Ruth St. Denis.

The tiles fell into oblivion immediately upon the closing of the school and the men did too upon their deaths in the late 1960s. The talk retrieves from starlessness the Boys, the tiles, and the joy of Cathedral Oaks.


Richard D. Mohr is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and of the Classics at the University of Illinois-Urbana and the author of two books on ceramics: Pottery, Politics, Art: George Ohr and the Brothers Kirkpatrick (2003) and The Splendid Disarray of Beauty: The Boys the Tiles, the Joy of Cathedral Oaks (2023). Since 1993, he has been a regular contributor to the Journal of the American Art Pottery Association with serializations on the tiles of Van Briggle, Rookwood, and Teco.