Tomlinson Collection

Two Ashford Marble Urns

The Tomlinson Collection of Ashford Black Marble ornaments.


In 1945, John Michael Tomlinson, tracing his family history, discovered that his family had lived in Ashford in the Water and had been inlayers.  Curious about this craft, he started to look for examples of it.  

This became a lifetime quest, and by the time he died in 2000, he had collected over 150 examples of the craft. He had also researched and written the major book on the trade, Derbyshire Black Marble. This book lists the major collections, including ours, as well as the principle workers in the trade. Tomlinson used his own collection to illustrate it.

Following the death of his widow in 2005, Derbyshire County Council has purchased the collection to be displayed at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery. This happened with the support of:

  • the Museums and Libraries Association and Victoria and Albert Purchase Grant Fund
  • the National Art Collections Fund
  • generous local benefactors 

This is in keeping with Mr Tomlinson's wish that the collection should return to Derbyshire.

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