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Delftware: Visit the Source

large bowl by Royal Delft
Bowl courtesy Royal Delft

The Netherlands’ world-famous Delftware originated in the 17th century. Artisans in Delft (and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in the Netherlands) covered earthenware with a transparent glaze, then hand painted each piece with one of several motifs that included flowers, traditional Dutch landscapes and nautical scenes.

Originally influenced by the multi-colored ceramics made in Antwerp and Belgium— and later by Chinese blue-and-white porcelain, Delftware became popular throughout Europe. In the 18th century, however, increased competition on the continent and in England put most Dutch producers out of business. Today, one surviving producer—Royal Delft—continues to make the beautiful blue and white ceramics for which the city of Delft is known. (There are a few multi-colored pieces as well.) Products include plates, pitchers, vases, bowls and tiles painted with large murals.

Visitors to the historic city of Delft can tour Royal Delft and watch Delftware being made in the traditional way. They can also view the royal collection of Delftware donated by King Willem III and browse the museum and on-premises shop. For more information go to royaldelft.nl

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