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The History of Underglaze Blue

It would seem rather impossible to speak of ceramics, either earthenware or porcelain, without paying tribute to the color blue. This story cannot be told without explaining the influence of the Middle East, which one can see in the early Chinese stoneware and porcelain production. The cobalt ore, needed to create the intense blue, was…

All Kinds of Vases with Spouts or Holes

It was in the late seventeenth century, under the patronage of Queen Mary II, who was as passionate about Chinese blue and white porcelain and its local counterpart, Dutch Delftware, as she was about her gardens, that the Delft factories developed their technical skills and virtuosity in the production of all sorts of ’vases with…

Delft & The Commedia dell’Arte

For centuries the Commedia dell’Arte (Italian Comedy) has been a source of inspiration for painters, printmakers and porcelain manufacturers throughout Europe. This had as result that the subject appeared almost in every medium of the fine and decorative arts. The Commedia dell’Arte was a form of comedy theater characterised by masked types which began in…

Dutch Winters Presented in Dutch Delftware

Who can think of a thing that is more Dutch than people skating on the ice? December is also known as the first winter month, although lately there were no harsh winters during this month in the Netherlands. This has not always been the case, since there was a Little Ice Age which lasted from…

Delft Red Stoneware Teapots

Although the trade of Chinese porcelain by the VOC (Dutch East India Company) became difficult from around 1650, because of the civil unrests in China, the VOC still managed to maintain trade relations with the southern part of China. They imported wares, such as porcelain, tea and the famous red stoneware teapots.[1] Once again, these…

Majolica, Hollandts Porceleyn and the Verstraeten Family

When in the sixteenth century many potters migrated from Antwerp to the northern Netherlands, they established themselves in various cities. However, around 1600 the city of Haarlem emerged as the leading majolica centre. Multiple inventories show that a total of 45 potters had settled there and the production of majolica increased proportionally.[1] Although it is…

A New Way of Dining

About three weeks ago, the new exhibition Nederland dineert, Vier eeuwen tafelcultuur (Dutch Dining, Four Centuries Table Culture) opened in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. With three meals a day, dining and decorating the table for special occasions was and is of all times. Delft potters have played an important role in bringing a custom of…

Japanese Colour Patterns in Dutch Delftware

Dutch Delftware is also known by the popular term Delft Blue. The earliest Dutch Delftware was indeed only decorated in a blue colour, inspired by the Chinese Kraakporcelain which was traded by the VOC (see our newsletter of August). But this term is slightly inadequate, since Dutch Delftware is so much more extensive than only…

The Making of Hollandts Porceleyn

The arrival of the popular Chinese porcelain on the Dutch market had as result that the Delft Majolica potters had to invent new ways to bring their goods on the market. As they only created a limited choice of tableware (mostly plates, dishes and porringers) in contrast to the so sought after thin and shiny…

The Dutch Raid for Overseas Exotic Treasures, such as Tobacco

The many ships in the harbour of Amsterdam during the five-yearly nautical event ‘Sail’ remind of old times, when ships from all over the world arrived in the Netherlands, loaded with exotic treasures. Thanks to the VOC and WIC the Dutch came into contact with all kinds of exotic products, such as spices, sugar and…

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