Ever heard of the Barcade boys?

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“Is It Art?”

Block Arcade

Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of coloured glass, stone, or other materials. Small pieces, normally roughly quadratic, of stone or glass of different colors, known as tesserae, (diminutive tessellae), are used to create a pattern or picture.

Here we have a great example of Victorian-era floor mosaic. This photo shows the example of the intricate flooring of the L-shaped arcade which opens opposite the Royal Arcade in Melbourne.

In its heyday, it was well known as a hangout for young larrikin gangs called the “barcade boys,” who dealt drugs all day and hired prostitutes at night. The arcade was erected between 1891-93 and designed by architect David C. Askew whose brief was to produce something similar to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan. The result was one of Melbourne’s most richly decorated interior spaces, replete with mosaic tiled flooring, glass canopy, wrought iron and carved stone finishings. The exterior facade is one of Australia’s best surviving examples of the Victorian Mannerist style.

If you want to know more about tiles and mosaics, check out my ceramics category.

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“Is It Art?”


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