Important and Rare Delftware Collection at TEFAF Maastricht 2017

AMSTERDAM February 21, 2017 - At TEFAF Maastricht 2017 Aronson Antiquairs will present a spectacularly rare and important collection of Dutch Delftware: The Nijstad Collection and highlights from the Morpurgo Collection.

The Nijstad family has been deeply wedded to art and antiques for as long as anyone can remember. They channeled this passion into a successful business, decades before Hartog ‘Harts’ and Kitty Nijstad developed a magnificent collection of Dutch Delftware in the twentieth century. Robert Aronson, fifth generation owner of the over 135 year old Dutch firm, has already a long history with the family. He has childhood memories of visiting Mr. and Mrs. Nijstad, who where his father’s colleagues and his grandparent’s dear friends. As Robert Aronson adds “No extravagance. Mr. Nijstad invited us to the study upstairs. There, a large vitrine running from floor to ceiling was remarkably filled entirely with Dutch Delftware”. The collection, which was started by his father Abraham Nijstad, include a pair of boys riding lions made around 1775, and a pair of candlesticks with deer marked for Jan van den Briel, the owner of De Grieksche A (The Greek A) factory from 1768 to 1783, or his widow Petronella van der Laan from 1783 to 1796. An early polychrome money bank, which can be attributed to Jannetge Claesdr. van Straten, widow of Jacob Wemmersz. Hoppesteyn and the owner of Het Moriaenshooft (The Moor’s Head) factory from 1671 until 1686, is also part of this important collection. Robert Aronson, who is grateful to the Nijstad family for the long friendship, is proud and honoured to be given the opportunity to present the Nijstad collection in all its glory.

In addition to the outstanding objects from the Nijstad collection, Aronson Antiquairs will also bring several highlights from the Morpurgo collection. The Morpurgo family is a renowned Amsterdam dynasty in the antiques trade. Four successive generations have contributed their expertise, knowledge, and passion to the industry since the family business was started by Joseph M. Morpurgo in 1869. The Aronson family and the Morpurgo’s also go back several generations. One of their long treasured objects is a plaque attributed to Frederik van Frijtom - who is Holland’s most renowned painter of seventeenth century Delft faience and oils, which can now represented to a new generation of collectors and appreciators.

TEFAF Maastricht is widely regarded as the world's leading fair for art, antiques and design. Featuring 275 prestigious deals from some 20 countries, TEFAF Maastricht is a showcase for the finest art works currently on the market. TEFAF Maastricht's upcoming edition will  run from Thursday March 10 through Sunday March 19, 2017.

Dutch Delftware has been handmade in Holland for more than 400 years. It began when trade with Italy, Spain and Portugal brought earthenware to the Netherlands. By the seventeenth century the Dutch East India Company had introduced Europe to Chinese porcelain and exports flourished as the West strived to duplicate the Chinese formula for fine blue and white porcelain. When war in China interrupted the trade, potters in Delft expanded their businesses to create earthenware versions of ‘porcelain.’ At the height of production The Guild of Saint Luke counted almost 40 factories in the small city of Delft. They were innovative and adapted to fill the needs of clients all over Europe, with the elegant term ‘faience’ becoming synonymous with ‘delftware.’ The word “Delftware” has long been associated with a visit to Holland.

For over 135 years Aronson Antiquairs has sought to carry the very finest examples of Delft in the full range of forms and patterns, from the extremely rare black Delft to Japanese Imari designs and the instantly recognizable blue and white and Chinoiserie motifs in dishes, figures, vases, bowls and plaque forms. Robert Aronson is chairman of the Royal Dutch Antique Dealers Association and he recently provided sponsorship support to the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague to show a distinguished collection of antique Delft titled “Delftware Wonderware.”


TEFAF Maastricht

Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 45-B

Mail: P.O.Box 15556
NL-1001 NB Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Tel. +31 20 623 3103
Fax +31 20 638 3066

For interviews and high resolution images please contact:
Celine Ariaans
+31 20 623 3103


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 mark the factory’s history: the beginning of the factory and its development under the Hoppesteyn family (1658-1690), the splitting of the factory into two independent companies (1690-1772), and the reunion of the factory into one functioning pottery (1772- 1792).[1]

The first owner, Jan Aelbrechtsz. Groenland, only briefly managed the company. A year after acquiring half of the factory’s shares, he sold his portion to Jacob Wemmersz. Hoppesteyn. A few years later, Hoppesteyn purchased the remaining company shares as well as the tools and two pottery washing plants, becoming the primary owner of Het Moriaenshooft factory. According to Van Dam, Wemmersz Hoppesteyn was originally a cooper. It is likely that he never left his occupation and that he entrusted his mother in law, Adriaantje Jansz, with the management of the company. Adriaantje was the wife of Claes Jansz, the owner of De Porceleyne Lampetkan. When he died in 1653, she became in charge of the factory. According to an ordinance of 1652, widows were authorized to take ownership of their deceased husband’s pottery without taking a test typically required by the Guild of Saint Luke. She probably also managed since the beginning, the day to day operations of Het Moriaenshooft. In fact, when Jacob Hoppesteyn became the sole owner of the factory, the lease stipulated that the company was leased for at least another three years to Adriaantje.[2]

Over the next thirty years, the company grew progressively to become a major figure in the history of Delftware. The objects made by Het Moriaenshooft in this period are in fact amongst the most rare and remarkable of all Delftware production. A document from 1669 states the names of at least nineteen plateelbakkersknechten, potters assistants, aged between 17 and 55 years old who were working for Hoppesteyn. His pieces are characterized by a very pure glaze of a milk white color. They are elegantly decorated with a cerulean blue. Like the blue and white teapot with cover, few of his pieces are marked by the letters IW, his initials. This Delft teapot draws strong inspiration from Chinese porcelain teapots. The overhead handle is a shape that is often seen on Kangxi porcelain, while the teapot itself mimics the form of Chinese Yixing red stoneware teapots. Also, the decoration appears to be an emulation of Chinese transitional porcelain. To create this hexagonal-shaped teapot, the Delft potters must have used plaster molds, since it is impossible to throw a piece with so many angles.

After Hoppesteyn’s death in 1671, his wife, Jannetge van Straten, inherited the company. Over the next several years, she successfully ran the factory with the assistance of her son Rochus Hoppesteyn.[3] The years of co-management between Van Straten and her son were a period of exceptional production. One feat achieved during their management was the experimentation with polychrome decoration through the mixed fire technique. In this process, the decoration was first applied on the object and then fired at a high temperature. Next, gold and red colors were applied during a third fire at a low temperature, resulting in a exceptionally refined object that was undoubtedly intended for the highest class.

After the passing of his mother in 1686, Rochus Hoppesteyn took the full ownership. He obtained the status of master in 1680, when he was only 19 years old. Hoppesteyn was in fact an exceptionally talented craftsman and demonstrated immense artistic skill.[4] Rare are the pieces that are marked. His mark was composed of a Moor’s head with his initials below. The blue and white chinoiserie ewer is attributed to Rochus Hoppesteyn. The decoration depicts five oriental figure and a moor amidst shrubbery. This object presents some similarities in shape and decoration with a polychrome and gilded jug marked for Rochus Hoppesteyn that belongs to the collection of the Rijksmuseum (inv. no. BK-NM-12400-271) in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, his business skills were less developed, and the factory was soon plagued with financial trouble. In order to ensure its safety, Hoppesteyn sold part of the factory. In fact, his dearth of business acumen, his reluctance to pursue creditors and his tendency toward dissolute behaviour caused both financial and marital difficulties resulting in the necessity of selling a significant part of the factory.

In 1690, he factory was separated into two independently managed potteries. The part that was sold became Het Oude Moriaenshooft (The Old Moor’s Head) whereas Het Jonge Moriaenshooft (The Young Moor’s Head) stayed under the ownership of Hoppesteyn. Two years later, he passed away, leaving his wife a considerable amount of unpaid debt. The company was declared bankrupt, and the pottery, shop, materials and remaining production were sold to the porceleynbakker (porcelain potter), Lieve van Dalen.[5]


[1 M.S. van Aken-Fehmers, L.A. Schledorn, A.- G. Hesselink, T.M. Eliëns, Delfts aardewerk. Geschiedenis van een nationaal product, Volume I, Zwolle/Den Haag (Gemeentemuseum) 1999, p. 200.

[2 J.D. van Dam, Delffse Porceleyne, Dutch Delftware 1620-1850, Zwolle/Amsterdam (Rijksmuseum), 2004, p. 66.

[3 M.S. van Aken-Fehmers, L.A. Schledorn, A.- G. Hesselink, T.M. Eliëns, Delfts aardewerk. Geschiedenis van een nationaal product, Volume I, Zwolle/Den Haag (Gemeentemuseum) 1999, p. 201.

[4 C.H. de Jonge, Delft Ceramics, New York 1970, p. 41.

[5 J.D. van Dam, Delffse Porceleyne, Dutch Delftware 1620-1850, Zwolle/Amsterdam (Rijksmuseum), 2004, p. 69.