Why Choose Delftware?

From tiles to tulipieres, Delftware captivates with its diverse forms, weaving a tapestry of Dutch heritage dating back to the 16th century. Instantly conjuring images of the Netherlands, this blue and white pottery stands as an enduring symbol of cultural richness. Crafted from earthenware and cloaked in a luminous tin glaze, Delftware emulates the elegance of Asian porcelain, offering a canvas for intricate designs to flourish. Its allure traversed continents, igniting a fervor across Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, it remains a coveted treasure, gracing esteemed American collections, including those cherished by the likes of patron and philanthropist Ann Getty. Embark on a journey to uncover the essence of this timeless decorative art form, poised to infuse any space with charisma and allure.

Different types of delftware products

Delftware Emerged as an Alternative to Chinese Blue and White Porcelain

Delve into the fascinating world of Delftware, where Dutch artisans transformed ceramics into timeless treasures. Initially emerging during the 16th century, Delft pottery experienced a meteoric rise in popularity shortly thereafter. This surge coincided with the influx of Chinese porcelain into the Netherlands, courtesy of the Dutch East India Company.

While authentic Chinese blue and white porcelain captured hearts, it came with a hefty price tag. Sensing an opportunity, Delft potters stepped in, offering a more affordable alternative. As geopolitical tensions disrupted trade routes to China in the mid-17th century, Dutch artisans seized the moment, satisfying the growing demand for exquisite ceramics with their own distinctive flair.

Beyond Blue and White: Exploring Delftware's Spectrum

Contrary to popular belief, Delftware transcends the iconic blue and white palette. While this combination remains emblematic, the creative possibilities are boundless. Drawing inspiration from Italian maiolica, a vibrant earthenware tradition dating back to the Renaissance, Delft artisans ventured into polychromatic territory, unleashing a kaleidoscope of hues onto the market.

From serene landscapes to intricate floral motifs, Delftware embodies a rich tapestry of colors and designs, each piece a testament to Dutch craftsmanship and ingenuity. Whether adorning mantelpieces or gracing dining tables, these ceramic marvels continue to captivate enthusiasts worldwide, bridging cultures and centuries with their timeless allure.

Aristocrats and noble people gathering together

Delftware was beloved by aristocrats and nobles across Europe

In the 18th century, Delftware captured the hearts of aristocrats and nobles throughout Europe, becoming a prized possession in grand estates across the United Kingdom and continental Europe alike. Queen Mary II herself adorned her royal residences with this exquisite pottery, showcasing its elegance at Hampton Court in England and Het Loo Palace in the Netherlands.

Pieces range from small figures to elaborate tulipieres

From delicate figurines to magnificent tulipieres, Delft manufacturers offered a wide array of pieces to suit every taste. Contrary to common belief, the iconic tulipieres, designed to nurture bulb flowers like tulips and hyacinths indoors, rose to prominence in the 1680s, a few decades after the infamous 'Tulip mania' had swept through the Netherlands. Puzzle jugs and ornate garnitures of vases also stood out as highly sought-after treasures among collectors.

Scenes and themes run the gamut

From mimicking Chinese porcelain to embracing Chinoiserie themes, Delftware's evolution has been a colorful journey. While peasant and biblical scenes once held sway, the allure of Commedia dell’arte characters has stood the test of time. As Delft forms grew more playful, humor became a cherished element, making stock characters like clowns and lovers highly sought after in European decorative arts.

In the 18th century, Dutch heritage took center stage with motifs featuring milking group animals and shoes, further enriching the tapestry of Delftware's narrative.

A cashmire style of delftware vase

Unraveling the Allure of Cashmire: A Distinctive Delftware Style

Step back into the early 17th century, and you'll find yourself immersed in a world where Delftware reigns supreme. Among the plethora of Delftware varieties, one stands out for its unparalleled uniqueness - Cashmire. This distinctive style enjoyed a remarkable surge in popularity for over two decades, leaving an indelible mark on the history of ceramics.

Cashmire, though exquisite, came with a price tag. Its production demanded meticulous craftsmanship and a keen eye for detail. What sets Cashmire apart is its ribbed form, complemented by a striking color palette of red, green, and blue. But perhaps its most captivating feature lies in its lush floral motifs, each intricately designed to captivate the beholder.

Delving into the Dutch Historical Makerscape

Venturing deeper into the annals of Dutch ceramic history, we encounter the illustrious Delft factories that defined an era. Among these venerable institutions, several names stand out, each contributing its own unique flair to the rich tapestry of Delftware craftsmanship.

First and foremost is De Grieksche A (The Greek A), renowned for its prestigious commissions, including works for Queen Mary II's opulent Hampton Court Palace. Then there's De Witte Ster (The White Star), whose creations shimmered with a celestial brilliance, captivating patrons far and wide.

Not to be overshadowed, De Paauw (The Peacock) strutted onto the scene with its bold designs, reminiscent of the majestic bird from which it draws its name. Meanwhile, De Metalen Pot (The Metal Pot) forged its own path, infusing Delftware with a touch of industrial charm.

Last but certainly not least, we have De Porceleyne Byl (The Porcelain Axe), a true maverick in the world of ceramics, wielding its creativity with the precision of a finely honed blade.


As we journey through the annals of Delftware history, the allure of Cashmire and the legacy of these Dutch historical makers remain as potent as ever. Their contributions not only shaped the aesthetic landscape of their time but continue to inspire awe and admiration in the hearts of collectors and enthusiasts alike.

FAQs about Delftware

  1. What distinguishes Delftware from Chinese blue and white porcelain?

Delftware emerged as a more affordable alternative to Chinese blue and white porcelain during the 16th century. While both share the iconic blue and white palette, Delftware showcases a distinctive Dutch flair, drawing inspiration from Italian maiolica and eventually embracing a spectrum of colors beyond blue and white.

  1. What types of pieces were popular among European aristocrats in the 18th century?

Delftware became a cherished possession among European aristocrats in the 18th century, adorning grand estates across the continent. Pieces ranging from delicate figurines to elaborate tulipieres, along with ornate garnitures of vases, were highly sought after, showcasing the versatility and opulence of Dutch craftsmanship.

  1. What are some common themes depicted in Delftware designs?

Scenes and themes depicted in Delftware designs vary widely, reflecting the evolving tastes and influences of different eras. From mimicking Chinese porcelain to embracing Chinoiserie themes, Delftware often features scenes from everyday life, biblical stories, Commedia dell’arte characters, and Dutch heritage motifs such as milking group animals and shoes.

  1. What distinguishes Cashmire as a distinctive Delftware style?

Cashmire stands out among Delftware varieties for its ribbed form, vibrant color palette, and lush floral motifs. This style gained popularity in the early 17th century for its exquisite craftsmanship and captivating designs, making it a prized possession among collectors.

  1. Can you name some prominent historical Delftware factories and their contributions?

Several renowned Delftware factories left an indelible mark on the ceramics landscape. De Grieksche A (The Greek A), De Witte Ster (The White Star), De Paauw (The Peacock), De Metalen Pot (The Metal Pot), and De Porceleyne Byl (The Porcelain Axe) are among the notable ones. Each factory contributed its own unique flair to Delftware craftsmanship, producing exquisite pieces that continue to inspire awe and admiration today.