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 Info
Dish with Chinese Figures
1685-90
Multicoloured faience, 26 x 33 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



Summary of earthenwares
Delft | Meissen | Sèvres
Wedgwood | Various



© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.