Tile box


M.C. Escher
Unique set of 42 Combinatorial Tiles
with two carved linoblocks
ca. 1940

From the collection of Bruno Ernst, author of
"The Magic Mirror of M. C. Escher"

42 Unique printed and hand-painted linoleum block tiles, with two linoblock printing blocks, in the artist’s original fabric-lined metal box


ca. 1940  (presented by M. C. Escher to his friend Bruno Ernst, author of ‘The Magic Mirror of M. C. Escher’)


The black sides stamped from two linoblocks, painted on the reverse in  brick orange and blue, numbered on the edges 1-2-3-4 & 1-2-3-4


Illustrated in Doris Schattschneider: Visions of Symmetry, page 46, with extensive commentary


The illustration above left shows four arrangements of the tiles. The set consists of 42 linoleum tiles, black and ivory on one side and colored on the reverse. The 42 tiles divide into two sets of 21 tiles of a single pattern and 21 tiles that are the mirror reflection of that pattern. The combinations and patterns that these tiles create are astounding, and illustrate Escher's deep love for visual geometry. Related to tessellations, these tiles also explore combinatorial mathematics. Escher kept these tiles in this green cigar box which he lined with decorative fabric. The box with blocks and tiles is photographed below with several of pencils belonging to Jetta (whose name is inscribed on two) and some very short colored pencils of the frugal M. C. Escher.