This past June, we embarked on a week-long American Grand Tour of major museum collections along the East Coast. We had the great pleasure to visit the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where Thomas S. Michie, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture presented us with a personal tour of the Delftware collection.
Founded in 1876, the Museum of Fine Arts was originally located in Copley Square. Over the years, the collection expanded and in 1909, the museum relocated to an impressive neoclassical building on Huntington Avenue in order to accommodate its growth. Today, the museum encompasses nearly 500,000 works of art from ancient Egypt to the contemporary period. The art of Europe occupies a significant place of importance, and amongst those treasures features 54 Delftware pieces from the museum collection.
Upon entering the main building, we were delighted to encounter a room dedicated to the masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age. Displayed in the center of the room, Delftware wonders are beautifully exhibited with exquisite Dutch and Flemish paintings. Our tour continued on the second floor of the building where many more Delftware artworks were ingeniously exhibited. We concluded our visit in the Hamilton Palace Dining Room, a period room from 1700. In the center of this wood-paneled room is a magnificent sweetmeat dish of 74 centimeters made by De Metaale Pot (The Metal Pot) factory. This blue and white piece consists of a set of eight spade-shaped dishes surrounding a central eight-pointed star-shaped dish, each painted with a spray of roses and tulips. Inspired from a Chinese porcelain model, this extremely rare set was intended to held sweet and savoury preserves, such as dried fruits or summer fruits in brandy.