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Delft Faience

dutch, decoration, ware, glaze, body, english, chinese, porcelain and japanese

DELFT FAIENCE. To the Dutch town of Delft the world is indebted for a style in faience that has claimed the admiration of the world. When, at the beginning of the 17th century, the Dutch East India Company brought such large quantities of Chinese and Japanese porcelain ware they created a great rage for this beautiful "china." The cost of this im ported ware was, however, too high for most of the citizens. The rich Italian faience (majolica) had shown what fine effects were obtainable with oqaque tin enamels. Already the Dutch potters had been producing tin enameled tiles for decorating wall surfaces and for covering the surface of househeating apparatus (ovens). These tiles, with their quaint painted decoration consisting of biblical subjects, landscapes, ships, coats-of-arms, etc., had become popular all over Europe. By coating his darker clay body with white opaque tin enamel the Delft potter had found a method of creating an appearance of porcelain very pleasing to the eye. With the Chinese and Japanese porcelain pieces in such abundance before him he had forms and decora tion in plenty to carry out a close imitation of equal variety and beauty. Starting at the very beginning of the 17th century, by 1680 this Delft faience was in such favor throughout the Continent and England that about 30 busy fac tories were in existence. Careful workmanship in potting and talented decoration produced a ware which is greatly admired by connoisseurs to the present day. The industry was continued till the end 'of the 18th century, when the cheap, handsome English standard formula "china" (see Csamaics) flooded the European markets. Leading Delft makers and painters were Her man Pietersz, Van Frytom, A. Pynacker, L. Fictor, L. and S. Eenhorn, J. Van Brower, A. de Kooghe, Th. Witzenburgh, etc. Among the best known factories were The Metal Pot; the Double Jug; the Claw ; the Peacock; the Porcelain Bottle; the Three Tuns; the New Moor's Head; the Two Little Ships; the Jug; the Two Savages.

Characteristics.— The thick, warm yet bril liant glaze of Delft faience contrasts favorably with the steely glitter of most Chinese porce lain. The white enamel background had a pure, though subdued, mellow tone.

Product.— Handsome "garnitures" for the chimney, consisting of a central gourd-shaped bottle, a beaker on either side, and at either end a jar with cover (all of Chinese form and deco rative motifs), were favorites. Small vessels and beakers and small plates and brushbacks with bright-colored decoration and gold, on black or dark brown ground, are a much sought for style. Other ornaments were cruets, candle sticks, scent bottles, bird cages, lanterns, sun dials, flower holders, human and animal figures, etc. Peculiar forms were naturalistic violins, shoes and slippers for holding flowers, boxes of all sizes. Useful house services were made on

a large scale.

Decoration.— Imitations of the Chinese blue-and-white decoration were made in largest profusion—A. de Keyser excelled in this. Gay colors alongside the blue followed. Japanese styles called "Imari" and "Japanese taste" were closely imitated from 1662. Many Oriental motifs were treated in a semi-European way (chinoiseries).

Glaze.— Delft ware is coated with a very thick, soft glaze.

Paste.— The body runs from a dark brown to yellow.

Marks.— The name of the factory or maker is quite commonly used.

English Delftware.— The beautiful Dutch Delft pieces quickly attracted foreign imitation, and England, aided at first, no doubt, by Dutch potters, soon (the date is somewhat obscure) began making the white opaque-coated ware. This is generally termed in distinc tion to true Delft. Lambeth (London) is sup posed to have first started this ware, which was then taken up by Bristol and Liverpool. Whereas the Dutch very closely imitated the Chinese styles at first, the English copied the Dutch almost slavishly for a time, but the early product was inferior to the Dutch, its body being coarser and glaze thinner and more uneven. The glaze is not well fused to the body, decoration is inferior and colors cruder. While the Dutch did but one firing for body, glaze and decoration, the English baked the body first, then the decoration and glaze after ward. Much of the ware shows crazing. The product was more for use than ornament and consisted of pill-slabs, drug pots, "Merry Men" plates. The latter are both round and octagonal. They are in sets, each with its motto. Thus we find one set with the lines "What is a Mery Man" ' • the next plate reads "Let him doo all what he Iran"; then others "to entertayn his Gests," "with wyne and Mery jests,* "But if his wyfe cloth frown," All meryment Boos down." Other articles are mugs, dishes, candlesticks, posset pots, three-handle mugs, "puzzle jugs," etc. Five colors were used— blue, green, yellow, orange, brownish purple. The so-called "blue dash chargers," with their crude daub, are much prized; they have kings, queens, statesmen, etc., as decoration. Richard Chaffers of Liverpool, shipped so much of his ware to America that this country is now the best source for obtaining specimens.

Bibliography.— Blumlein, K., and seine Fayencen> (Hamburg 1899) ; Burton, W., 'English Earthenware and Stoneware' (London and New York 1914) • Havard, Henry, 'His toire de la Faience de Delft' (Paris 1878) ; Knowles, W. P., Pottery and Porcelain' (London 1907) ; Moore, Mrs. N. Hudson,