Delftware
17th century

The tin-glazed earthenware pottery known as majolica was popular in Italy, and introduced into the Netherlands by Italian potters who had emigrated to Antwerp. In the early 17th century, the Dutch East India Company had a thriving trade in Chinese Export Pottery, which was as popular in Holland as the rest of Europe. The potters of Delft had adapted the popular blue and white style of the Chinese porcelains for their own earthenware versions. The early blue and white delft pieces featured popular Asian motifs, many of which were copied from the ware produced in China during the reign of Emperor Wanli (1573-1619), and the traditional decorations of the pottery imported from 1620-1644, but before long, Dutch artists had replaced scenes of the Orient with local themes in the form of landscapes, flowers, boats, and windmills.

The two-colour blue and white scheme that has come to be known as Delftware is characterized by a lightweight, relatively thin body of earthenware (which is referred to as porcelain, though it is actually earthenware). The overglaze is white and so thick that it has a tendency to bubble during firing. Delft pieces are characterized by these tiny popped glaze bubbles that are often found on the undersides and backs of the ware.

At the end of the 17th century Delft faience became increasingly popular in the Netherlands, The Delft potteries were commissioned by Willem III and his court to make impressive tulip vases and other imposing pieces. The King of England ordered pieces of Delftware to decorate the palaces in his kingdom. Delftware became popular and was widely exported in Europe and even reached China and Japan. Chinese and Japanese potters made porcelain versions of Delftware for export to Europe.

Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
Dish with Chinese Figures
1685-90
Multicoloured faience, 26 x 33 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

922*750
True Color
82 Kb



Dish with Chinese Figures
1685-90
Multicoloured faience, 27 x 34 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

912*750
True Color
85 Kb



Dish with a Winter Landscape
1650
Tin-glazed earhtenware, diameter 32 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

1010*1000
True Color
149 Kb



Dish with a Representation of the Sense of Hearing
1650-65
Tin-glazed earthenware, diameter 53 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

1006*1003
True Color
168 Kb



Large covered jar
c. 1635
Blue-painted faience, height 50 cm
Museum of Cultural History, Lund

900*1220
True Color
185 Kb



Plaque with View of the Tomb of William the Silent
1657
Tin-glazed earthenware, 31 x 24 cm
Gemeente Musea, Delft

778*1000
True Color
153 Kb



Plaque with View of the Tomb of William the Silent
1657
Tin-glazed earthenware, 31 x 24 cm
Gemeente Musea, Delft

830*1000
True Color
149 Kb



Plaque with View inside a Gothic Church
1662
Tin-glazed earthenware, 28 x 28 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

800*805
True Color
97 Kb



Plaque with View inside a Gothic Church
1662
Tin-glazed earthenware, 28 x 28 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

810*800
True Color
104 Kb



Plaque with the Prophet Elijah Fed by the Ravens
1658
Tin-glazed earhtenware, 25 x 30 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

857*700
True Color
122 Kb



Plaque with a Landscape
1660-75
Tin-glazed earthenware, 26 x 24 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

923*850
True Color
148 Kb



Plaque with a Portrait of Robertus Junius
1660
Tin-glazed earhtenware, 17 x 14 cm
Museum Van Het Boek, The Hague

542*700
True Color
41 Kb



Two large tiles from a column
c. 1690
Blue-painted faience, 62 x 62 cm (each)
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

600*1183
True Color
169 Kb



Tile
c. 1690
Tin-glazed earthenware, 69 x 69 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1003*1005
True Color
197 Kb



Tulip vase
1680s
Blue-painted faience, height 35 cm
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg

1201*950
True Color
154 Kb



Tulip vase with the arms of Willem III
1690s
Blue-painted faience height 102 cm
Royal Collection, Hampton Court

785*1351
True Color
161 Kb



Tulip vase with the arms of Willem III
1690s
Blue-painted faience height 98 cm
Royal Collection, Hampton Court

775*1350
True Color
159 Kb



Large covered vase
1680s
Blue-painted faience, height 96 cm
Hessisches Landesmuseum, Kassel

750*1308
True Color
141 Kb



Octagonal vase
1680-85
Polychrome faience, height 75 cm
Musée de la Chartreuse, Douai

908*1200
True Color
142 Kb



Octagonal vase
1680-85
Polychrome faience, height 75 cm
Musée de la Chartreuse, Douai

925*1200
True Color
142 Kb




Summary of earthenwares
Delft | Meissen | Sèvres
Wedgwood | Various