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[ 01 / 20 ] A Delftware Banquet

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries fine dining was an exceedingly important social ritual, and the accompanying accessories were reflective of the owner’s status. The well-laid table was the culmination of splendor. However, dining traditions changed during these centuries and the Delft potters quickly accommodated the new tastes of the nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie for adorning their dining tables and even dining rooms. Although the dining traditions changed, a dinner party given by a prosperous family in both the seventeenth and eighteenth century was a veritable feast for the senses: a gustatory treat to taste the beautifully prepared and perhaps exotic foods, and a visual treat in their presentation and in the table setting itself.
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Delftware Banquet Table Brunch [A Delftware Banquet] The
Brunch
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[ 01 / 05 ] The Brunch Table

Breakfast did not exist for large parts of history. In the European Middle Ages breakfast was not usually considered a necessary and important meal, and was practically nonexistent during the earlier medieval period. It was not until the fifteenth century, that noble men were seen to indulge in breakfast. The sixteenth-century introduction of caffeinated beverages into the European diet was part of the consideration to allow breakfast. It was believed that coffee and tea aid the body in "evacuation of superfluities," and was consumed in the morning. In about the seventeenth century it is believed that all social classes started eating breakfast. By the late 1740s, breakfast rooms also started appearing in the homes of the rich.
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Plates & Dishes The Brunch Table Plates &
Dishes
Of course, a table can not be laid without plates and dishes. Although the Delft factories had a large and varied output in plates and dishes, those that have survived were probably not the plates where people would have eaten from in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

In Delft most factories produced both a high-end line of decorative objects and useful wares and a low-end selection of common utensils, which, ironically, are rarer today because they were used, worn out or damaged and then irreverently thrown away. What has survived today are generally the higher-end objects, in general more beautiful, more admired and cared for by generations of owners.

This is often the case of the surviving Delftware plates. These decorative objects were intended to be displayed on etageres, in glass cabinets or on walls. Some of the plates may have been part of entire services commissioned to the Delft potters and were used only on rare occasions.
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Polychrome Delftware plate chinoiserie decor Polychrome Plate, circa 1760
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Butter Tubs The Brunch Table Butter Tubs Indispensable on the brunch table were Delftware butter tubs. Butter was popular among peasants as a cheap source of nourishment and prized by nobility for the richness it added to cooked meats and vegetables.

It has been a major dairy product produced by the Netherlands for centuries, especially in the province of South Holland, near the cities of Leiden and Delft. The preparation of butter was an arduous task on the farm. To make it, milk cream was shaken with a wide-ended stick. The carnation was done manually until the hand labor was later replaced by mills in the eighteenth century. Like cheese, butter was marketed by the farmers themselves.

When placed on the table in the most beautiful tubs, it must have been an impressive sight. Although this model has historically been described as honey pots and indeed resemble beehives, based on the model it is more likely that these pots were actually intended for butter.

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Polychrome Delftware honey pots Pair of Polychrome Butter Tubs, circa 1760
Marked for Jan Theunis Dextra, the owner of De Grieksche A (The Greek A) factory from 1758 to 1764
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Tureens The Brunch Table Tureens The factories in Delft quickly accommodated the new taste of the nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie for adorning their tables with brightly colored table wares, such as tureens of various sizes and shapes. Small tureens and butter tubs became a specialty of the Delftware factories in the Netherlands in the second half of the eighteenth century.

Naturalistically modeled as fruit and vegetables, often with accompanying stands molded with foliage, tureens were often the centerpiece on the table. Further, the table itself would be adorned with real flowers or fruits. A pair of tureens like the present one, formed as a wickerwork basket with a stack of apples and pears, would fit accordingly on the table.
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Polychrome Delftware fruit basket tureens Pair of Polychrome Fruit Basket Tureens, circa 1770
Marked for Albertus Kiell, the owner of De Witte Ster (The White Star) factory from 1762 until 1774
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Egg Cups The Brunch Table Egg Cups Egg cups, found over the centuries in many shapes and with a vast array of designs, have existed since prehistoric times. However, with the fall of classic civilization in the West and in the East, egg cups either disappeared temporarily from domestic use or continued in use but were made of materials that have not survived, as the next evidence of egg cups does not appear until the 1600s in England. At this time the elegant but impractical silver egg cup emerged in noble and aristocratic houses, and its humble wooden counterpart for serving hard-boiled eggs arrived on the tables of the less prosperous.

A century later in France, Louis XV was seen to eat eggs frequently from egg cups (probably of Sèvres porcelain), and Louis XVI occasionally entertained his courtiers by “beheading" the egg in its cup with the brisk slice of a knife -an unintentionally ironic reference to his own visit to the guillotine in 1793. But the egg cup, probably because of its singular function and relative fragility, did not spread rapidly across Europe as a useful adjunct to the breakfast table until the mid nineteenth century -the Victorian Period- when the Industrial Revolution encouraged the mass production and extensive marketing of all manner of table wares to the rising middle class.

Until that time, egg cups, particularly in pottery and porcelain, were special orders and eighteenth-century Delftware examples were nearly as rare in their time as they are today.
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Antique Delft blue dragon pattern egg cups Set of Six Blue and White Dragon Pattern Egg Cups, circa 1720
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Flower Vases The Brunch Table Flower Vase When the meals have been prepared, and the panoply of table wares is laid on the buffet and on the table, what else would impress your guests at a dinner party? A lush bouquet of flowers in an even more extraordinary Delftware vase!

In their constant search for innovation and for expansion of their range, the Delft potters began to develop new forms of vases around 1680. The most common types were table vases in the form of tureens and baskets, or stacks of round basins. Delftware factories also produced vases shaped as figurines, fans and perhaps the most phenomenal the large pyramidal shaped flower vases.

Flower vases with fanning rows of spouts were produced at the Delft potteries from the 1680s to about 1740. Initially, they were designed as simple quintel vases, which were topped by a single row of five spouts arranged in a fan. The heart-shaped model with five spouts followed the early quintel vase. This model was probably intended to be seen from one side because of the flat shape. The decorative vase may have been displayed on a mantel piece, above a door, or on a piece of furniture.
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delftware flower vase Blue and White Flower Vase, circa 1720
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Delftware Banquet Table Afternoon tea [A Delftware Banquet] Afternoon
Tea
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[ 02 / 05 ] Afternoon Tea Table

Initially drinking tea in Europe had a medicinal purpose, since it “suivert het grove bloedt, verdrijft de sware droomen, (…) ’t verjaegt de dommigheijt en ’t sterckt Venus’ handel (gedienstig voor nieuw getrouwde)” (“purifies coarse blood, drives out heavy dreams, (…) chases away stupidity and strengthens Venus’ affairs (useful for newly weds)”. It took a while though before the fashion became generally established, but in the last quarter of the seventeenth century, the craze for tea drinking began to sweep through Europe. The Chinese word for the hot beverage, ‘tê’, was now adapted to ‘thee’ in the Netherlands, ‘tea’ in the United Kingdom, ‘thé’ in France and ‘tee’ in Germany, and by 1680 “taking tea” was widespread amongst the Dutch households. When the practice became fashionable, it changed the rhythm of people’s daily lives. Tea could be drunk once or twice a day, but afternoon gatherings became the new habit. Furthermore it inspired people to acquire the necessary accoutrements for serving the drink.
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Teapots Afternoon Tea Table Teapot In Holland, where tea was an exotic and expensive luxury and consumed sparingly, teapots were of a small size. The tradition of drinking tea was strongly influenced by the Chinese customs. A large teapot would function as a kettle to heat the water, which was then poured into a smaller teapot that contained tea leaves.

Teapots were intended for individual use with each pot reserved for making a particular type of tea. As in China, teapots were used as infusion pots, and once the strong brew was poured into a cup, it would be diluted with water from a kettle.

Delftware teapots are rare, since vessels made from regular earthenware were comparably coarser than porcelain, and considered less elegant and pleasant to drink from. More important is the fact that earthenware is not the best material to hold boiling water. Heat is conducted more readily by earthenware, being a porous material, than by porcelain, and it was prone to crack when it had to endure large temperature differences. When the glaze was crackled, the material underneath was not sealed anymore, and the water caused it to crumble.
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Blue and White Teapot and Cover, circa 1730
Possibly marked for De Dissel (The Pole) factory
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Tea Canisters Afternoon Tea Table Tea Canister Tea was presented to the guests in beautifully tea canisters, or so-called tea caddies. The word caddy is derived from the Malay word ‘kati’, a measure of weight equal to 630g (1.4lbs) approximately. However until about 1800, they were called tea canisters rather than caddies. These containers, which held loose leaf tea, were created in a variety of materials, such as porcelain, glass, silver, enamel and Delftware. They were fitted with covers to keep the contents dry. Originally these receptacles had no provision for a spoon, but by the late 1690s, some of the covers were shaped like a small cup and this was used to measure the loose tea. See Next Object Blue and White Tea Canister and Cover, circa 1710
Marked for Lambertus van Eenhoorn, the owner of De Metaale Pot (The Metal Pot) factory from 1691 to 1724
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Sugar Caster Afternoon Tea Table Sugar Caster Sugar was initially limited to a wealthy elite who used it as a symbol of power and wealth. Before the prevalence of sugar, honey was used as a sweetener. Gradually, refined cane sugar replaced honey as sugar became increasingly affordable. Also, the taste of sugar is more neutral than honey, which was possibly too strong for some recipes or drinks such as tea or coffee. Moreover, honey sometimes contained a disagreeable amount of beeswax. And lastly, the solidity of the sugar also allowed for more elaborate confections, which were simply impossible to make with liquid honey or molasses.

The demand for sugar also made another significant change in the consumption of tea, coffee and chocolate. At first, the elite emulated the Chinese practice of drinking tea without sugar. However, adding sugar became more and more fashionable, and consumers started to accumulate the necessary accoutrements when “taking tea.” This also triggered the inventiveness of the ceramics field.

The form of this sugar caster is based on a metal model, generally silver, which remained popular on the Continent and in England from the early eighteenth century onward and was used for both pepper and sugar.
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1413 Delftware sugar caster Blue and White Octagonal Sugar Caster, circa 1710
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Sugar Dish Afternoon Tea Table Sugar Dish The demand for sugar also made another significant change in the consumption of tea, coffee and chocolate. At first, the elite emulated the Chinese practice of drinking tea without sugar. However, adding sugar became more and more fashionable, and consumers started to accumulate the necessary accoutrements when “taking tea.” This also triggered the inventiveness of the ceramics field.

The flower shape of the object probably derives from a Japanese porcelain dish. In Japan, small dishes like this one were used for the Kaiseki (懐石), a meal preceding the tea ceremony. They were intended to display fresh seasonal ingredients that were prepared in ways to enhance their flavor. This Delft dish may have been used during tea time for serving rock sugar, referred to in Dutch as Kandij (hence the word “candy”).
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Blue and White Footed Sugar Dish Blue and White Footed Sugar Dish, circa 1750
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Sweetmeat Dish Afternoon Tea Table Sweetmeat
Dish
In the seventeenth and eighteenth century the potters in the city of Delft created magnificent sets of small plates. Dishes of this characteristic shape have been found to be referred to in inventories as ‘confituur-starren’ (’preserve sets’).

Probably they were used to serve sweetmeats and other delicacies such as dried fruit or summer fruit deserved in brandy. The dishes were usually used during tea time, when sweetmeats were served. Delights such as sugared orange peels, sugar-coated nuts and seeds, sometimes even colored, pear and quince marmalade and preserved ginger, chestnuts and fennel were presented in these small delicate dishes.

In the seventeenth century, the creation of such delicacies were facilitated thanks to the importation of large quantities of sugar from Brazil and Caribbean. Honey got progressively replaced by a more refine sweetener, which enhanced the creation of numerous desserts.
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Sweetmeat dish by De Grieksche A, Adrianus Kocx at Aronson Antiquairs Blue and White Compartmented Sweetmeat Dish, circa 1690
Marked for Adrianus Kocx, the owner of De Grieksche A (The Greek A) factory from 1686 to 1701
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Flower Vases Afternoon Tea Table Flower Vase A lush bouquet of flowers in an even more extraordinary Delftware vase would definitely have - and nowadays still will - impressed your guests at a tea party!

In their constant search for innovation and for expansion of their range, the Delft potters began to develop new forms of vases around 1680. The most common types were table vases in the form of tureens and baskets, or stacks of round basins. Delftware factories also produced vases shaped as figurines, fans and perhaps the most phenomenal the large pyramidal shaped flower vases.

Flower vases with fanning rows of spouts were produced at the Delft potteries from the 1680s to about 1740. Initially, they were designed as simple quintel vases, which were topped by a single row of five spouts arranged in a fan. The heart-shaped model with five spouts followed the early quintel vase. This model was probably intended to be seen from one side because of the flat shape. The decorative vase may have been displayed on a mantel piece, above a door, or on a piece of furniture.
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Blue and White Flower Vase, circa 1720
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Delftware Banquet Table 17th century [A Delftware Banquet] Late
17th-Century
Dinner Table
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[ 03 / 05 ] Late Seventeenth-Century Dinner Table

At the end of the seventeenth century, interior design and the style of tablewares underwent considerable changes. Specialized dining rooms were built and accommodated new, large pieces of furniture, such as buffets and draw-leaf tables. Unlike the smaller and lightweight furniture that preceded, these new forms were heavy and were not easily moved throughout the home. Further, tablewares and decorative objects were designed to complement the new furniture. For example, the buffet served a dual function: it demonstrated one’s wealth by displaying beautiful ornamental objects and it was used in the elaborate service of wine. While every court envied his display of wealth in silver, it was not invulnerable to the changing economy. The melting of silver from grand houses encouraged the faience industry to increase the production of both ornamental and functional pieces, worthy of royal and aristocratic tables. The popularity of refined faience on the dinner tables of the European courts and noble houses increased the prestige of Delftware, and the pieces created at the end of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth century came to rival and sometimes even surpass their silver counterparts.
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Wine Cooler Late Seventeenth-Century Dinner Table Wine Cooler The most beautiful buffets included sumptuous services including a wine cooler, which were filled with ice or cold water in order to chill the bottles in preparation for serving the wine. Glasses were filled by a servant and offered to guests on a salver.

At the time, the larger houses and castles had ice-cellars dug deep into the ground, in which temperatures stayed low, and ice, harvested from ponds during the winter and packed in straw, could be stored during the warm summer months.

The present wine cooler was undoubtedly part of an exceptional service, and can be attributed to Adrianus Kocx through a comparison to several marked objects with almost identical decoration.
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Large Blue and White Wine Cooler, circa 1695
Attributed to Adrianus Kocx, the owner of De Grieksche A (The Greek A) factory from 1687 to 1701
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Monteiths Late Seventeenth-Century Dinner Table Monteiths Wine glass coolers, also named monteiths after a Scottish nobleman known to wear a cloak with a serrated hem, were filled with cool water or ice, and used for chilling and cooling or rinsing wine glasses.

The forms were initially thought to be a late seventeenth-century French invention from circa 1680, where they were first created in silver to accompany the wine fountain or cistern and the wine bottle cooler in the increasingly grand displays of plate or silver furniture of kings, princes and ambassadors. However, they were probably invented in England around 1680.

The earliest glass-coolers were made of silver and were round or oval, often with lion’s-paw feet and handles formed as heads or lion’s heads holding rings in their mouths.
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1609 Delftware monteiths Pair of Blue and White Fluted Oval Monteiths, circa 1730
Marked for Cornelis Koppens, owner of De Metaale Pot (The Metal Pot) factory from 1724 to 1757
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Salt Cellars Late Seventeenth-Century Dinner Table Salt Cellars Another indispensable object for the well-laid dinner table was salt. Salt, known as ‘white gold,’ was especially expensive during ancient times and the middle ages.

Over the centuries, salt became more available, but through the seventeenth and into the eighteenth century it remained an important indicator of wealth and status on the dining table. The presentation vessels were often sizable and impressive.

With the development of dinner services in the eighteenth century, including their array of various useful and often ornamental wares, such as candlesticks, cruet stands, sauceboats and every style of dishes and plates, the salt cellars became smaller and more numerous on the table. The shape of salt cellars often derived from typical Dutch silver salts of the mid-seventeenth century.
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Pair of Blue and White Salt Cellars, circa 1710
Marked for Lambertus van Eenhoorn, the owner of De Metaale Pot (The Metal Pot) factory from 1691 to 1724
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Bowl Late Seventeenth-Century Dinner Table Bowl Early Dutch Delftware bowls are rare, and a bowl with pierced openwork of this early date is even more uncommon. The pierced openwork of the bowl was probably inspired on blue and white transitional Linglong or Guigong porcelain, also called Chinese devil’s work. These Chinese wares were decorated with fine openwork carving. It was generally limited to small objects such as cups, brush pots, bowls and covered jars. Chinese bowls of this type, with sides partly or completely pierced, are mentioned in the VOC records of 1643-1646 as 'doorluchtige' (translucent) bowls, but were also made before that time in the Wanli period. In contrast to Delftware bowls with pierced openwork, small Chinese bowls are still quite common in collections.

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Blue and White Small Bowl Blue and White Pierced Small Bowl, circa 1670
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Pilgrim Bottles Late Seventeenth-Century Dinner Table Pilgrim
Bottles
Pilgrim bottles date to ancient Roman times in the West and to seventh-century China in the East. They were made in a wide range of materials, such as earthenware, but also porcelain, silver, glass and leather. The vessels were originally carried by travelers on their journeys, but the surviving examples like the present pair were probably purely ornamental. If they were used, it must have been exclusively by the very wealthy.

Many sumptuous pilgrim bottles were probably modeled after silver examples. In the last quarter of the seventeenth century, silver pilgrim bottles were considered a masterpiece of a royal silver buffet, and they were also gifted by the high nobility.

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2004 Delftware Pilgrims Bottles Pair of Blue and White Small Pilgrim Bottles with Silver Mounts, circa 1680
Marked for Samuel van Eenhoorn, the owner of De Grieksche A (The Greek A) factory from 1678 to 1685
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Candlesticks Late Seventeenth-Century Dinner Table Candlesticks Before electrification, candles were the main source of light after dark. However, they were considered a luxury, even in the well-to-do home. Thus, the expression ‘the game’s not worth the candle’ highlights the fact that lighting a candle was like burning money itself.

Tallow candles, made of animal fat, were the most commonly used candles. They emitted a foul odor and a black vapor, and burned very quickly. An expensive alternative was the beeswax candle, which had a more pleasant perfume and burned for a longer period of time.

Like the candles, their holders were also very expensive objects. Candlesticks gave a particular splendor to the parties and ceremonies of wealthy households.
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Blue and white Delftware candlesticks Pair of Blue and White Candlesticks, circa 1710
Marked for Lambertus van Eenhoorn, the owner of De Metaale Pot (The Metal Pot) factory from 1691 to 1721
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Delftware Banquet Table 18th century [A Delftware Banquet] 18th-Century
Dinner
Table
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[ 04 / 05 ] Eighteenth-Century Dinner Table

In the middle of the eighteenth century, dining ‘à la française’ (in the French manner) was the fashion in Europe. Inspired by the French court of Louis XIV (1638-1715, reigned 1643-1715), the serving dishes were laid out on the table symmetrically and in a very ordered way for each course and guests would serve themselves from the platters, bowls or tureens within their reach. Each course provided an opportunity to display and use a variety of tablewares: plates, serving vessels and a panoply of decorative objects. At the same time, the fashion for trompe l’oeil ceramics had spread throughout Europe. The tables of the nobility and wealthy bourgeoise were adorned with brightly colored fruits and vegetables of various shapes, or with zoomorphic objects in the form of domestic and exotic animals and birds, which gave the illusion of nature, luxuriant and animated.
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Plates & Dishes Eighteenth-Century Dinner Table Plates & Dishes Of course, a table can not be laid without plates and dishes. Although the Delft factories had a large and varied output in plates and dishes, those that have survived were probably not the plates where people would have eaten from in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

In Delft most factories produced both a high-end line of decorative objects and useful wares and a low-end selection of common utensils, which, ironically, are rarer today because they were used, worn out or damaged and then irreverently thrown away. What has survived today are generally the higher-end objects, in general more beautiful, more admired and cared for by generations of owners.

This is often the case of the surviving Delftware plates, such as this petit feu and gilded plate. The scene on this dish is painted after the drawing of the 'Backer' (Baker) by Leonaert Bramer from his Straatwerken (Street Works) series of circa 1650, comprising 66 drawings illustrating a variety of peddlers and artisans. These decorative objects were intended to be displayed on etageres, in glass cabinets or on walls.
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1358 Delftware plate Polychrome Petit Feu and Gilded Plate, circa 1740
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Chargers Eighteenth-Century Dinner Table Charger Of course, a table can not be laid without plates and dishes. Chargers, large plates used at full course dinners or to dress up special events, are also indispensable table objects. Although the Delft factories had a large and varied output in plates and dishes, those that have survived were probably not the plates where people would have eaten from in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

In Delft most factories produced both a high-end line of decorative objects and useful wares and a low-end selection of common utensils, which, ironically, are rarer today because they were used, worn out or damaged and then irreverently thrown away. What has survived today are generally the higher-end objects, in general more beautiful, more admired and cared for by generations of owners.

This is often the case of the surviving Delftware plates. These decorative objects were intended to be displayed on etageres, in glass cabinets or on walls. Some of the plates may have been part of entire services commissioned to the Delft potters and were used only on rare occasions.
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8252 Delftware Polychrome Charger Polychrome Chinoiserie Charger, circa 1740
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Butter Tubs & Tureens Eighteenth-Century Dinner Table Tureens The factories in Delft quickly accommodated the new taste of the nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie for adorning their tables with brightly colored table wares, such as butter tubs and tureens of various sizes and shapes. Small tureens and butter tubs became a specialty of the Delftware factories in the Netherlands in the second half of the eighteenth century. Naturalistically modeled as birds, animals, fruit and vegetables, often with accompanying stands molded with foliage, these tureens and butter tubs were often the centerpiece on the table. See Next Object Pair of Polychrome Recumbent Stag Tureens, circa 1770 Go Back More Information Larger Tureen Eighteenth-Century Dinner Table Tureen Zoomorphic tureens most likely evolved from polychrome sugar or wax figures and bird-shaped pastries that decorated the Renaissance table. the tureens modeled as animals such as deer and birds, but also fruits and vegetables may have been created as more permanent and palatable replacements for real-life examples, such as the severed head of a wild boar that represented the trophy of a hunt.

The tureens were often displayed amongst whole table services, such as the costly zoomorphic dinner services, which were mostly used at special occasions, such as the beginning of the hunting season and were especially popular during the eighteenth century.

In keeping with the hunting theme and in the absence of the beast itself, Delftware tureens in the form of game, such as stags or wild boars, made eye-catching centerpieces on a dining table.
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Polychrome Hind Tureen and Cover Polychrome Hind Tureen, circa 1770
Marked for Johannes van Duijn, the owner of De Porceleyne Schotel (The Porcelain Dish) factory from 1764 to 1772
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Figure of a Stag Eighteenth-Century Dinner Table Stag Figure Deer, among the most common inhabitants of wooded areas throughout Europe, Western and Central Asia and North America, surely were the most popular game during the heyday of hunting, known as the Age of Absolutism. Hunting was the passion and privilege of the nobility, and beyond its original function of providing alimentation, it served as entertainment as well as an indicator of status.

Not only were entire services decorated with hunting motifs produced for grand dinners celebrating the hunt, but also models of animals as well as figures were greatly fancied for the decoration of tables and interiors.

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Polychrome Figure of a Stag, circa 1770
Marked for Johannes van Duijn, the owner of De Porceleyne Schotel (The Porcelain Dish) factory from 1764 to 1772
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Sauce Boats Eighteenth-Century Dinner Table Sauceboats Changes in dining customs and refined entertaining from the beginning of the eighteenth century in Europe resulted in the production in both pottery and porcelain of large dinner services with a multiplicity of vessels, including sauceboats of various shapes.

This pair of sauceboats, produced in a rococo style, indicates that the Delft factories produced tableware with contemporary style elements. The model of these kind of sauceboats is derived from silver examples. Initially, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Delftware industry produced round bowls with two pouring lips and two ears. Such sauceboats were also part of the production assortment of other faience and porcelain factories, both in the Netherlands and abroad.

Also in the Far East, sauceboats were copied in Japanese porcelain around 1720. In the second half of the eighteenth century, porcelain sauceboats were also commissioned in China. These Chine de commande objects were however often supplied with a stand.
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Pair of Blue and White Sauceboats, circa 1760
Jan Teunis Dextra, the owner of De Grieksche A (The Greek A) factory from 1758 until 1764
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BW Tureen Eighteenth-Century Dinner Table Tureen Besides zoomorphic tureens, which most likely evolved from polychrome sugar or wax figures and bird-shaped pastries that decorated the Renaissance table, the Delft factories also produced tureens of other unique forms.

At a time when menus expanded and more courses were served, services became larger. Rich households underlined their wealth by using complete services of Chinese porcelain. To compete, Delft factories created tableware in the style of Chinese porcelain. Although the decoration on this tureen is inspired on Chinese imageries, the tureen also shows characteristic Western motifs, such as the shape of the foliate-scroll knop.

Delftware created under the ownership of Zacharias Dextra is characterized by the unusual tone of the blue decoration and the thinness of its potting, resulting in a particular porcelaneous quality, which would completely outshine Chinese tableware.

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Blue and White Oval Tureen, circa 1745
Marked for Zacharias Dextra, the owner of De Drie Posteleyne Astonne (The Three Porcelain Ash-Barrels) factory from 1722 to 1759
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BW Cistern Eighteenth-Century Dinner Table Cistern The Delft potteries quickly accommodated the new tastes of the nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie for serving their drinks with the production of large decorative objects for the buffet, as well as wine and liquor cisterns. Cisterns were akin to large tankards or small pitchers with a low spout for easy tabletop dispensing of its contents.

Delft potters transformed a very utilitarian object into a delightful work of art with a number of variations, from figural groups to mischievous monkeys, that further illustrates the versatility of Delftware designers.

This blue and white figural cistern is modeled as a Bacchus clasping in his hands a wine goblet and a bottle and seated astride a barrel inscribed on the front "Witte Wijn" (White Wine).
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Blue and White Figural Wine Cistern, circa 1755
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Candlesticks Eighteenth-Century Dinner Table Candlesticks Although candlesticks of various shapes have been produced in Dutch Delftware from the 1680s onwards, a brightly colored figural pair of candlesticks from the eighteenth century like these are highly uncommon. Blue and white candlesticks with traditional European forms are often decorated with chinoiserie designs that are borrowed from Chinese Transitional porcelain. It is however uncertain if figural candlesticks like these were also produced in Chinese porcelain. Most likely, they are unique objects born of the Delft potters’ creativity and imagination. See Next Object Pair of Polychrome Figural Candlesticks, circa 1770
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
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Cows Eighteenth-Century Dinner Table Cows Delftware cows are typically decorated with flower wreaths and garlands around their necks and backs. This decorative scheme derives from the seventeenth- century ‘guild oxen,’ when the Butcher’s Guild would hold an annual parade celebrating the best-bred bull or cow from their guild on the day of its patron saint (St. Luke, whose attribute is the apocalyptic beast, the winged ox). The beast would be decorated with floral wreaths and ribbons, its horns often gilded and sometimes topped with oranges. The festive procession of the animal was joined by musicians and great merriment. The meat of that animal was intended for the subsequent guild dinner, and a portion of it was donated to the church and the poor. The expression “the guild-ox is on parade” became synonymous with “this is a feast.”

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Blue and white Delftware cow Pair of Blue and White Figures of Cows, circa 1720
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BW Plaque Eighteenth-Century Dinner Table Plaque Dutch Delftware plaques stand out amongst the many examples produced during the seventeenth century for their extreme delicacy and meticulousness. The “porcelain paintings,” as they were referred to in household inventories, were intended to be admired as if they were paintings on panel, canvas or copper.

Although guild membership granted Delftware painters compositional freedom, many plaques are inspired by canvas paintings or prints, which were often made after original paintings. The prints from the oeuvre of Nicolaes Berchem were popular sources of inspiration for Delftware painters.

This blue and white plaque is painted after the print, ‘Washerwoman Drying Clothes in the Sun’ by Johannes Visscher (1633-after 1692) from a drawing by Berchem dated 1657.
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8209 Delftware Berchem Plaque Blue and White Plaque, circa 1765
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[ 05 / 05 ] After Dinner Drinks

All kinds of Delftware objects made for the service of drinking alcohol were vulnerable in use and even more so in maintenance. Most have probably been lost over time, making the surviving objects even more uncommon. However, it is highly probable that these objects only served a decorative purpose, and were possibly only used at special occasions. Filled with beer, wine, or perhaps something stronger, they would have served as the centerpiece of a festive gathering.
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Plates & Dishes After Dinner Drinks Plates &
Dishes
Of course, a table can not be laid without plates and dishes. Although the Delft factories had a large and varied output in plates and dishes, those that have survived were probably not the plates where people would have eaten from in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

In Delft most factories produced both a high-end line of decorative objects and useful wares and a low-end selection of common utensils, which, ironically, are rarer today because they were used, worn out or damaged and then irreverently thrown away. What has survived today are generally the higher-end objects, in general more beautiful, more admired and cared for by generations of owners.

This is often the case of the surviving Delftware plates. These decorative objects were intended to be displayed on etageres, in glass cabinets or on walls. Some of the plates may have been part of entire services commissioned to the Delft potters and were used only on rare occasions.
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1783 Polychrome Delftware Plate Polychrome Plate, circa 1760
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Cisterns After Dinner Drinks Cistern The Delft potteries quickly accommodated the new tastes of the nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie for serving their drinks with the production of large decorative objects for the buffet, as well as wine and liquor cisterns. Cisterns were akin to large tankards or small pitchers with a low spout for easy tabletop dispensing of its contents, typically liquor.

Delft potters transformed a very utilitarian object into a delightful work of art with a number of variations, from figural groups to mischievous monkeys, that further illustrates the versatility of Delftware designers.

This polychrome figural cistern depicts a man seated on a rock. These cisterns of various male and female models are referred to in Dutch as ‘Bobbejakken’, whereas their French derivatives are called ‘pots-Jacquot’ or ‘pots-Jacqueline’, and the English variations are called ʻToby jugsʼ. Some of the Dutch Delft examples may be based on 18th- or 19th-century penny prints of the type depicting ‘Trijn en Hans Altijddorstʼ (ʻTrijn and Hans Always-thirstyʼ).

As in the case of the present cistern the head would function as a stopper, like a cork in a bottle and could also be filled through a hole in his hat.
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Polychrome Figural Cistern, circa 1760
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Puzzle Jug After Dinner Drinks Puzzle Jug The puzzle jug is one of the oldest jokes in the Delft potters’ continually playful repertoire. Puzzle jugs were intended as an amusing tavern game or a conversation piece during a dinner party.

One can only imagine the popularity of these objects in homes and taverns as drinkers attempted to consume the contents without causing a spill. After a long and alcohol-induced evening, it became an increasing challenge.

The pierced openwork on the neck of the jug intentionally prevented any liquid in the body from being poured or consumed, and provided rounds of hilarity when the uninitiated attempted to drink from the vessel. Additional holes that were cleverly concealed made the challenge even more confounding.
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antique polychrome aronson puzzle jug Polychrome Puzzle Jug, circa 1750
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Candlesticks After Dinner Drinks Candlesticks Although various shapes of candlesticks have been produced in Dutch Delftware from the 1680s onwards, this brightly colored and richly modeled pair of candlesticks from the eighteenth century is rare. The shape of the present pair of candlesticks draws from rococo silver precedents that were richly decorated with scrolling rocailles, shell, floral, fruit and scrolling foliate motifs. The interest in cultivated nature blends perfectly well with the trompe l’ceil tradition. See Next Object Pair of Polychrome Candlesticks, circa 1770
Marked for De Porceleyne Byl (The Porcelain Axe) factory
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Flower Vases After Dinner Drinks Flower Vase A lush bouquet of flowers in an even more extraordinary Delftware vase would definitely have - and nowadays still will - impressed your guests at a tea party!

This flower vase is decorated in the Imari palette, inspired by the Japanese porcelain wares that reached the Netherlands with the Dutch East India Company (VOC). Based on its limited importation and high cost in comparison to Chinese porcelain, Japanese porcelain could only satisfy a small demand in the Netherlands. Delftware potters seized the opportunity to capture this sector of the market with wares inspired by the popular Japanese objects.

The Imari porcelain was an inexhaustible source of inspiration for the Delft potters. The Imari- style palette briefly adorned all sorts of utensils that responded to the latest fashion in dining objects and interior decoration. Although the colors were directly inspired by the Japanese wares, the forms and decorations were taken from European, mostly Dutch, objects, such as this flower vase. Also, the decoration on this flower vase is mainly European with a lush bouquet in a vase.
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1918 Delftware tulipvase Polychrome and Gilded Flower Vase, circa 1700
Marked for De Roos (The Rose) factory
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[ 01 / 05 ] Visit website The Breakfast Table

Breakfast did not exist for large parts of history. In the European Middle Ages breakfast was not usually considered a necessary and important meal, and was practically nonexistent during the earlier medieval period. It was not until the fifteenth century, that noble men were seen to indulge in breakfast. The sixteenth-century introduction of caffeinated beverages into the European diet was part of the consideration to allow breakfast. It was believed that coffee and tea aid the body in "evacuation of superfluities," and was consumed in the morning. In about the seventeenth century it is believed that all social classes started eating breakfast. By the late 1740s, breakfast rooms also started appearing in the homes of the rich.
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