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The Chinese Dragon Pattern on Delftware

Auspicious, mythical and intriguing, the dragon was a creature that found its way onto Delftware from the Chinese porcelain and other decorative arts imported by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in the seventeenth century. The origins of mythical Chinese dragons are vague, however it is believed that over 4,000 years ago, China was made…

The Rise and Fall of the Delft Potteries

During the sixteenth century, The Delft economy was driven by the textile industry and beer breweries. However, the combination of these two industries caused problems. The textile industry polluted the water, which was an essential ingredient for beer. Therefore, the city of Delft needed a new industry to stimulate the economy, what eventually became the…

Women in Domestic Interiors

The daily activities of women were commonly depicted in seventeenth-century Dutch genre paintings. These scenes, from a housewife quietly absorbed in work, to a woman enjoying musical entertainment illustrate the societal roles of women in the domestic space. In these private spaces, women acquired a new importance. While for some painters the home was the…

The Delft Potters in the Guild of Saint Luke

Beginning in the middle ages, a guild system was in place to organize the urban crafts industry. Guilds primarily served to protect the economic interests of its members, but also provided a religious and social function. The types of guilds varied by each city, as they were formed according to specialization, such as the civic…

The Queen’s Passion for Flowers

In 1677, Mary Stuart, daughter of James, Duke of York and future James II, arrived in Holland after a treacherous journey from England. She was fifteen years old, and had just married her cousin, William III, stadholder of Holland. With her animated and personable demeanor, the Dutch people quickly developed an adoration for Queen Mary.…

Qilin, a Mythical Beast

Chinese and other East Asian cultures placed great importance on the mythology of fantastical creatures such as the dragon, phoenix and black tortoise. Perhaps the most popular of the mythical beasts was the qilin, a creature that bestowed prosperity and serenity. Naturally, the qilin was portrayed on many porcelain wares in China and Japan, and…

Trades & Crafts

Genre painting enjoyed enormous popularity in Northern Europe, particularly in the seventeenth century, and especially in the Netherlands. Many of the Dutch practitioners elevated what was once considered a humble art form into a desirable subject, which even rivalled classically esteemed subjects such as history paintings. Genre painting depicts aspects of everyday life. Although subjects…

The Hoppesteyn Family

Het Moriaenshooft (The Moor’s Head) factory was located in the Gasthuislaan in Zuidkant, an area in Delft with a large concentration of potteries. Although the founding date of the factory is unknown, the first owner was probably Jan Aelbrechtsz. Groenland, who acquired half of the company’s shares in 1658. There are three main phases that…

The Creation of the Exotic Black Delft

The newly formed Dutch East India Company (VOC) made its first trades with Japan during the beginning of the seventeenth century. Lacquerware was amongst the many curiosities that were imported to the Netherlands. The very delicate wooden objects were painted in dark brown or black, coated in highly glossed lacquer, and were usually richly decorated…

Silver Inspirations

By the late seventeenth century, the French court of Louis XIV (1638-1715) was the model of splendor and taste for all of Europe. Every court envied his display of wealth in silver, the exalted material that signified wealth and status. Silver is a precious metal, which distinguishes it from wood, glass and porcelain which do…

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