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The Centraal Museum is located in the Dutch city of Utrecht, and is the oldest municipal museum in the Netherlands. It first began in 1830 as a four-room institution on the top floor of the Utrecht town hall, and officially opened to the public on 5 September 1838. The museum welcomed visitors every Wednesday afternoon for 25ct. The driving force behind the ‘Municipal Museum of Antiquities’ was avid amateur historian Mayor H.M.A.J. Van Asch van Wijck (1774 – 1843). Although he strived to categorize and expand the collection, the museum remained no more than an antiquities room. When town archivist Samuel Muller FZ. took office in 1874, he managed to revive the museum after Van Asch van Wijk had passed away. He renovated and reorganized the museum, devised somewhat of a system, and put serious effort into expanding the collection. Under his direction the museum moved to estate Het Hoogeland on the Biltstraat in 1891. 

Since 1921, the Centraal Museum has been housed in the Agnes Convent on Nicolaaskerkhof. This former cloister from the Middle Ages was successively used as a factory, orphanage and a barracks. The Utrecht town collection was then merged with various private collections into one ‘central’ museum. The Centraal Museum has an extensive collection of around 50,000 objects consisting of old masters, modern art, applied art, design and fashion. Although not on view, there is also a small Delftware collection, consisting of plates and vases, but also a blue and white tea canister with chinoiserie decoration and a pair of blue and white candlesticks attributed to ’t Fortuyn (the Fortune) factory during the leadership of widow Van den Briel-Elling. Also in the collection is a pair of blue and white duck-form boxes, attributed to De Roos (The Rose) factory during the ownership of Dirck van der Does from 1755 to 1770. An absolute highlight is a bowl and cover flower holder made under the ownership of Adrianus Kocx, owner of De Grieksche A (The Greek A) factory from 1686 to 1701.

The Art Institute of Chicago was founded as both a museum and school for the fine arts in 1879 and is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. 

The origins for the Institute began in 1866, when a group of 35 artists founded the Chicago Academy of Design with the intent to run a free school with its own art gallery. The organization was modeled after European art academies, such as the Royal Academy. The Academy was a success, but the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 threw a spanner in the works. It destroyed the building and the Academy suffered from debt. This lead to the founding of a new organization, the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts (now the Art Institute of Chicago) in 1879, which bought the assets of the Chicago Academy of Design at auction.

The first collections consisted primarily of plaster casts, but nowadays the collection encompasses more than 5,000 years of art from cultures around the world. It has grown from plaster casts to nearly 300,000 works of art ranging from Chinese bronzes to contemporary design and from textiles to installation art. The European decorative arts collection includes some 25,000 objects of furniture, metalwork, glass, enamel, ivory and ceramics from 1100 A.D. to the present day. It also comprises a group of Dutch Delftware objects, dating from the seventeenth century to the end of the eighteenth century. Amongst the objects are vases, plates and chargers, but also a blue and white figure of a Budai Heshang from circa 1700. From the same period is a polychrome cashmere palette tea canister, which is marked for Lambertus van Eenhoorn who was the owner of De Metaale Pot (The Metal Pot) factory from 1691 to 1721.

In the city of Wieliczka in Poland, near its former capital Cracow, is the Cracow Saltworks Museum and Mine located. Between the 11th and the 12th century, Wieliczka was the largest salt processing centre in Małopolsk. At the end of the 13th century, the enterprise Cracow Saltworks was developed, comprising salt mines in Wieliczka, which operated in this organizational form for almost 500 years as one of the largest enterprises in Europe. The castle in Wieliczka was the historical seat of the mine’s management board between the 13th century and 1945. It regulated the life of the saltworks employees: it housed a court, a prison, a saltworks kitchen and a chapel. Renovated at the effort of the Cracow Saltworks Museum Wieliczka, it opened its doors to visitors in 1985.

The Cracow Saltworks Museum has been collecting saltcellars since 1973. Currently, the collection has approximately 800 objects, spanning the period from the 17th century to the modern times. There are saltcellars made of porcelain, silver, tin, glass, wood, faience, as well as more uncommon materials, such as bone, quartz and mother-of-pearl. The greatly diversified collection encompasses individual saltcellars, pairs of saltcellars, saltcellars forming sets for spices, as well as items from dinner sets.

 The museum’s elaborate collection comprises also Delftware saltcellars. For example, a pair of blue and white heart-shaped saltcellars from circa 1685. This early pair of saltcellars has a particular unusual shape with a beautiful chinoiserie decoration of a bird perched on a leafy branch. Delft salt cellars with blue and white chinoiserie patterns from the late seventeenth century can be found in various shapes, largely based on silver prototypes.

Kingston Lacy is an elegant seventeenth-century Italianate mansion and estate in southern England. It was built for Sir Ralph Bankes, after the family’s main seat, Corfe Castle was ruined during the Commonwealth. The mansion remained in the Bankes family for more than 300 years and its sumptuous interiors contain some of the oldest established gentry collection of paintings in Britain. The collection includes works by Rubens, Brueghel, Van Dyck, Titian and Tintoretto; and a large collection of Egyptian artefacts. Among the lavishly decorated interiors is the Spanish Room, with an early seventeenth-century Venetian ceiling and gilded leather hangings; neo-Caroline ceiling plasterwork; oak and cedar panelling; and a coved and painted eighteenth-century saloon ceiling. 

Three-piece cabinet garniture from Kingston Lacy, Dorset, tin-glazed earthenware, about 1695, Delft, the Netherlands. © National Trust.

Kingston Lacy also houses a small collection of Dutch Delftware. These Delftware objects were probably purchased by Margaret Parker, with whom John Bankes married in 1691. She dedicated herself to the decoration of the house and made several purchases in the field of Delftware. The most outstanding objects that she assembled are a late seventeenth-century three-piece composed garniture and a pair of flower holders with fanning rows of spouts marked for Lambertus van Eenhoorn. Another interesting highlight is a late seventeenth-century flower vase with a fanning row of spouts with the bust of a gentleman that might be William III, located below a wreath on the front.

In the nineteenth century, Kingston Lacy was encased in stone and its interior refitted to provide a suitable setting for the collection of paintings and other works of art, such as Egyptian antiquities, acquired by William John Bankes (1786-1855). The house was bequeathed to the National Trust upon the death of Henry John Ralph Bankes in 1982.


D1543. Blue and White Group of the Madonna and Child

Delft, circa 1750

Marked IP in blue for Jan Pennis, the owner of De Porceleyne Schotel (The Porcelain Dish) factory from 1724 through 1764

The Virgin wearing a tall crown, a necklace suspending a small cross, and a long robe partially concealed under a voluminous mantle, one end of which she clasps in her right hand, standing barefooted on a square base with a foliate border, and supporting in her left arm the seated and scantily draped Christ Child holding in his left hand an orb and reaching up with his right hand to touch her hair.

Height: 29 cm. (11 7/16 in.)

Literature: Illustrated by R. L. Delenne, Dictionnaire des Marques de l’Ancienne Faience de Delft, Paris 1947




D1905. Pair of Blue and White Early Flower Vases

Delft, circa 1680

Each marked LC in blue for Lambertus Cleffius, the owner of De Metaale Pot (The Metal Pot) factory from 1679 to 1691

Each painted around the lower half of the slightly exaggerated pear-shaped body with a continuous chinoiserie landscape scene of a bird flying and another bird seated near rock work amidst flowering shrubbery below a flowering vine border interrupted on the shoulder by eight spouts, each decorated with a blossom and foliate scrolls and surrounding a central spout flowering scroll motifs, the flaring foot with a border of blossoms and foliate scrolls.

Heights: 20.1 cm. (7.9 in.)

Note: 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 spouts’ to display flowers. Inspired by Queen Mary, it also became fashionable in aristocratic circles to decorate their residences with vases full of flowers. For instance, large vases were used to decorate the fireplace in the summer, and smaller vases were placed on the table during a festive meal. Although the vases in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were filled with all varieties of cut flowers, there has been much misunderstanding about this. In the mid-nineteenth century, when collectors and art historians rediscovered Delft earthenware, they must have thought that the vases were intended to be filled with hyacinth bulbs or flowers, as they came to be known as ‘bouquetiers à Jacinthes’. Not long thereafter, however, a more familiar name came into fashion, which is still used today: ‘tulip vase’ or ‘tulipière’, ascribed to these vases on the revised supposition that they were intended specifically to hold the precious and popular tulips.

Flower vases both for Queen Mary and the aristocratic clientele in both Holland and Great Britain were made in the city of Delft. Around the year 1700 there were over thirty potteries in operation in Delft, of which at least five produced vases with holes and spouts, as their makers’ marks indicate. Among them, De Metaale Pot (The Metal Pot) together with De Grieksche A (The Greek A) factory, created the largest output of flower vases. Over a period of sixty years, from 1680 to 1740, they sold a multitude of different types of vases with spouts and holes. Besides the present pair, only two other flower vases marked for Lambertus Cleffius are known. However, the inventory drawn up upon Lambertus Cleffius’ death in 1691, shows that his product range included a particularly varied assortment of bloemflessen (flower bottles) and bloempotten met oren en tuiten (flower pots with handles and spouts).

Lambertus Cleffius was a prominent figure in the Delftware world. He started working with his father Willem, who on January 6, 1670, had purchased De Metaale Pot (The Metal Pot) factory from the directors of the Dutch East India Company, the maritime company that transformed the former brewery into their chamber. The factory was located on the Lange Geer and included a house, a courtyard, a warehouse and sheds. After Lambertus’ marriage in 1672, he became a shareholder of the company. Lambertus may have handled the day to day operations of the factory, while his father oversaw the business. Lambertus was registered as a plateelbakker (pottery master) at the Guild of Saint Luke since 1667. According to Havard, the ceramic he created in order to obtain the title of master only took three days to complete. When his father died in 1679, he became the sole owner of the company.

Since both Lambertus and his father Willem had shares in several Delftware factories, they had built a veritable empire and had considerable influence in the industry. Their strong alliance likely discouraged competition, thus furthering their control in the Delftware industry. In fact, the Cleffius family may have purchased supply jointly amongst their factories to lower their cost. Quickly, father and son developed an international and prominent clientele. In the 1680s, the Cleffius’ were commissioned to create a large dinner service for Wenzel Ferdinand, Prince Lobkowicz of Bilina (1656-1697).

Lambertus Cleffius became such an unavoidable figure that in 1684, he was asked to represent a delegation sent to England to negotiate the end of the embargo on Dutch ceramics. Since the third Anglo-Dutch war (1672-1674), the importation of Dutch pottery to the English territory was forbidden. He also unconsciously revolutionized a change in the Delftware industry; the appearance of the maker’s mark on the reverse of ceramic objects. The mark of Lambertus Cleffius is composed of his interlaced initials, L.C. Unlike his contemporaries, whose production is characterized by horror vacui, Lambertus Cleffius preferred spare decoration, as can be seen on this pair of flower vases. Cleffius is also known for his use of a fine line known as a trek.

Similar examples: Although several types of vases with spouts are known, this model seems to be unique. Besides the present pair, only two other flower vases marked for Lambertus Cleffius are known to date. A large baluster-shaped flower holder decorated with a continuous chinoiserie scene is illustrated in Van Aken-Fehmers 2007, p. 158, no. 4.03. Another flower holder, marked for Lambertus Cleffius and modeled in a more Western style as a baluster-shaped vase with handles and chinoiserie decoration, in the Princessehof Museum in Leeuwarden (inv. no. BP 1999-0006) is illustrated in Van Aken-Fehmers 2007, p. 163, no. 4.07.


D1152. Pair of Polychrome Figures of Goats

Delft, circa 1750

Heights: 18 and 17.8 cm. (7.1 and 7 in.)

Note: Zoomorphic tureens and models of animals remain among the most popular items made in Dutch Delftware in the eighteenth century. Among the most prolifically produced were the farm and domestic animals; however, goats, and particularly the present models standing and with finely delineated coats, are extremely rare. Only very few other examples are known.


D1701. Majolica Polychrome Salt Cellar

Haarlem, circa 1600

The interior painted in the center in blue, manganese, green and ochre with a bird flying amidst plants, the reverse lead-glazed.

Diameter: 12.3 cm. (4.8 in.)

Provenance: The R.J. Bois Collection, North-Holland


D0931. Blue and White Salt Cellar

Delft, circa 1720

Marked IG /4 in blue for Jan Gaal, the owner of De Twee Scheepjes (The Two Ships) factory from 1707 until 1725, or his widow Lijsbeth Gaal-van der Plank from 1725 through 1727

The circular well painted on the interior with a flowering branch within a whorl and hatchwork border on the octagonal rim, and on the octagonal exterior with alternating foliate scrolls and four-petal blossoms, the stem with a foliate-vine band, and the octagonal foot with panels of trellis diaper work interrupted by foliate devices and alternating with blue-ground panels of demi-blossoms and leaves.

Height: 4.8 cm. (1.9 in.)


D1966. Pair of Polychrome Models of Leaping Horses

Arnhem, circa 1765

Attributed to the factory of Johan van Kerckhoff, Arnhem

Each decorated in brown and yellow with light blue and manganese details, modeled affronté, rearing above a manganese tree stump issuing four green and yellow-leafed branches, the rounded rectangular base with a molded edge marbleized in blue.

Heights: 24 and 24.5 cm. (9.4 and 9.6 in.)

Provenance: Probably the collection of Clemens Fredericus Wilhelmus Baron Van der Heyden, heer van Doornenburg en Suideras (1791-1838) and hence by family descent, through 1932; Salomon Stodel Antiquités, Amsterdam, 1998 (then attributed to Delft); Dutch Private Collection NOTE The attribution of this unmarked pair of horses to Johan van Kerckhoff of Arnhem follows the research on a very similar blue and white pair set forth in Aronson 2004, pp. 148-149, no. 170. Very few examples of this model in tin-glazed earthenware, based on a late sixteenth-century bronze by Giovanni da Bologna (1529-1608), are known, and where illustrated and discussed, the literature is in disagreement. An example in the Wintergerst Collection, Esslingen, Germany, illustrated by Hans Erdner and Gert K. Nagel, Die Fayencefabrik zu Schrezheim, 1752-1865, Ellwangen/Jagst, 1972, ill. 38, and undoubtedly from the same mold, is attributed to Schrezheim by the authors, who also cite the pair illustrated in Aronson in 2004 as being in the Fischer-Böhler Collection, Munich. Another pair of the same models, illustrated in the XIIe Oude Kunst- en Antiekbeurs 1960 catalogue from the collection of the late Bernhard Stodel, is on loan in the collection of Museum Lambert van Meerten, which is currently displayed in Museum het Prinsenhof in Delft and ascribed both there and in the 1960 catalogue to Delft, though without a specific factory attribution. A further pair is illustrated in Aronson 2006, pp. 76-77, no. 56. The revision of the previous attributions is based not only on the physical characteristics of the horses: the quality of the modeling, the purity of the glaze, and the palette of the rather quirky decoration, but also on the fact that with Arnhem’s proximity to Germany, Johan van Kerckhoff is known to have employed German craftsmen, who worked in their native manner and fashion. While it would have been reassuring to find the cockerel mark of Arnhem on these horses, only a limited number of pieces bearing this mark are known, and no animal models are among them. Nevertheless, from an advertisement in the Amsterdamsche Dinsdagsche Courant of May 28th, 1765, it is evident that animals must have been manufactured in Arnhem, as Mr. Jan Bezoet on the Nieuwe Zijds Agterburgwal in Amsterdam announced that he is selling: “Alle zoorten van Arnhems Aardewerk, zo best als gemeen, na de Saxische, Fransche en Engelsche Trant, bestaande in Fontijnen, Tafel Serviesen, Beeltjes, Gevogelten, Vrugten, Terrines, Koffykannen, Thee Potten,…” (“All kinds of Arnhem faience, the best as well as the ordinary, in the Saxon, French and English styles, consisting of fountains, dinner services, figures, birds, fruits, tureens, coffee urns, teapots…”). Following the discovery of two more pairs of horses of these models, the Arnhem attribution was generally accepted and has been discussed more fully by Hans Ressing in “Een kleine veestapel, Dierfiguren uit de Arnhemse fabriek van Johan van Kerckhoff,” Vormen uit vuur, 193, 2005/4, pp. 31- 36. In this essay two single examples of this model are illustrated on pp. 31-32, pl. 1-3; p. 33, pl. 5 shows the aforementioned pair illustrated in Aronson 2004; and pl. 6 shows a fourth pair, which is in the collection of the Museen der Stadt Aschaffenburg, Schlossmuseum der Stadt im Schloss Johannisburg, Germany.

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