Sunday, December 3, 2023


When people think of Dutch culture, they invariably conjure images of majestic windmills, sunlit canals, the works of Rembrandt and Van Gogh, fields of tulips, millions of bicycles and, of course, Delft Blue pottery.
Though Delft Blue pottery had its heyday between 1640 and 1740, the Dutch began making pottery of the tin-glazed variety as early as 1570. Though it’s often confused with porcelain, Delftware is actually made from a blend of three different clays, one from Delft, one from Tournai and one from the Rhineland.

NL-5613392, sent by Adriana.
Interestingly, it was actually the Chinese that inspired the creation of Delftware as we know it today. The story goes that back in the 17th century, The Dutch East India Company imported millions of pieces of Chinese porcelain. The Dutch fell in love with the artform and had a deep admiration for the workmanship and attention to detail in each piece.
The steady flow of porcelain from China came to an abrupt halt in 1620 following the death of the Wanli Emperor. Opportunistic Dutch potters seized this opportunity and began to work in earnest to create a cheaper local alternative. The Chinese artworks were dutifully re-created alongside religious motifs and typical Dutch scenes of windmills, fishing boats, hunting expeditions and seascapes.
A lesser-known fact about Delft Blue pottery is that not all of it is blue. In the 1700s, many factories experimented with a number of colours and even gilding. Delftware ranges from vases to sets of jugs and plates and to more tiles than you could shake a stick at (roughly 800 million!).
Sadly, Delft Blue’s popularity started to decline in the 1700s due to the renewed availability of Chinese porcelain and the rise of the English Wedgwood and European porcelain industries. By 1840, only one of the 32 earthenware factories established in Delft remained – De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles, or “Royal Delft”, which has produced Delftware uninterrupted for 365 years. - in:

No comments: