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D2441. Pair of Polychrome Petit Feu and Gilded Butter Tubs

Delft, circa 1765

Unidentifiably marked on the inside and bottom with number 13

Painted in turquoise, yellow, purple, iron-red and gold on the round tureen with two handles each decorated with a flower, the sides decorated with flowers and stylised scrolls, equal to the covers, with on top a modeled leaf with a snail in yellow and iron-red.

Height: 7 cm. (2.8 in.)

In the first half of the eighteenth century, the petit feu firing method made it possible to decorate Delft pieces in delicate enamels. In this technique, enamel and gold colors were fired onto the glazed form at a low temperature in a moffeloven, a small kiln. The petit feu firing expanded the color palette to include pastel pink, soft green, golden yellow, orange, light brown, gold, and silver.

Butter tubs were a common object in the Dutch household, with at least one meal a day consisting of bread and butter. In fact, butter was a delight throughout Europe. The Netherlands excelled at the production of dairy products, and it was widely exported throughout Europe and especially England.

A similarly shaped single butter tube with a snail on top and different decoration is in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, inv. no. BK-NM-10969.

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