The Royal Dutch Delftware Manufactory “De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles / Royal Delft” established in 1653, is the last remaining Delftware factory from the 17th century. Here, the world renowned Royal Delftware is still entirely hand-painted according to centuries-old tradition. In Royal Delft’s collection today, you will find a number of pieces, which can be referred to as iconic for the brand. These outstanding historic designs have made Delft Blue and the Royal Delft brand world-famous. The pieces are engraved in our collective memory and do honor their name: ICONIC
The icon of Royal Delft: the flower pyramid. The vases consists of a stack of ever smaller elements. Flowers can be put in each spouts. The imposing flower pyramids are made to the example of the late 17th century (royal) pyramids. Over 300 years after the first vases were developed in Delft the blue and white flower pyramid is famous national icon with royal allure.
This is an example of a purely decorative piece. The whole surface of the jar is a balanced decoration painted with a continuous depiction. A regularly occurring Royal Delft decoration is the bird. It also takes up a prominent place on the jar. The lid is crowned with a lion.
The name says it all: this is a set of vases, meant for on top of the cabinet. In the thirties of the eighteenth century there were no less than 10 types produced in Delft. According to the fashion in that time the sets were placed on the rim of the cabinet. This set of cabinet vases with decorative flower depictions has stood the test of time.
The icon of Delft earthenware is still the ‘vase with spouts’. The vase was meant to be filled with a variety of flowers, not just tulips as the popular name ‘tulip vase’ does suspect. Since 1685 this bowl shaped model with a loose lid has been produced in Delft. The flowers that filled the vases in this period were sought after collectors’ items, just as the blue and white earthenware itself.
The enlarged upper rim of this large vase consists of four satyr heads besides the leaf relief and thus is called a ‘satyr vase’. The model was produced during the twentieth century, but the shape and decoration are a mix of influences from the traditional Delft earthenware from previous centuries.
The beaker vase was part of a set of vases in the Golden Age. It was seen as a purely decorative object. There are sets of vases documented with no less than 17 elements. Nowadays these decorative vases are used as actual vases. This octagonal version is abundantly decorated with a flower and leaf decoration.
The flower vase is placed on a raised pedestal. On the top of the flower vase are five spouts. Over the centuries there have been many different shapes produced of this charming vase, with a varying number of touts. The current vase has a floral decoration on one side and a Dutch landscape on the other.
This deep bowl has an oriental shape and decoration. With their large size the bowls had a decorative function and were placed on top of cupboards in the corners as ‘cupboard dishes’. The smaller sized dishes were used as ‘rinsing bowl’ to rinse tea cups when drinking tea or were used for a different household function.
The rectangular dish with flattened corners is a dish shape that has been part of dinner services from the 18th century, made in both Chinese porcelain and Delft earthenware. A flower- and fruit basket have been used by painters since the 17th century as decoration.
The dishes of this set were used to present candied fruit around 1700. Making candied fruit as such was a pastime for well-to-do ladies and princesses. The inventories of Royal princesses mention tens to hundreds of candied fruit dishes in Delft earthenware in many shapes. The makers of earthenware in Delft copied the depicted star shape with surrounding dishes from Chinese porcelain, together they form a lotus flower.
This, originally silver dish form with fluted border, was produced in tin glaze earthenware in the period between 1640 and 1700. The white fluted dishes are depicted on many master paintings hanging in Dutch interiors. They are placed above the hearth as decoration or used as a fruit dish. Three centuries later Royal Delft produces the fluted dishes in combination with traditional flower decorations that originate in Chinese porcelain.
Raw herring: a typical Dutch delicacy. And this deserves its own dish. The herring dish was found in Dutch households from the 18th century. The shape of the dish on which the herring is served has remained almost unchanged over the centuries. The outer rim is decorated. The scaled skin of the fish shows various shades of blue, all obtained by mixing water and cobalt oxide: the blue pigment which creates the famous Delft Blue.
The baluster vase thanks its exotic shape to a calabash. Since the early 17th century this vase was made in Delft. The almost 60 centimetre high vase has a rounded belly and a gracefully slim neck with a knob at the top. The vase widens out at the bottom and is used for long flowers such as amaryllis nowadays. The peacock is central in this decoration. Birds are reoccurring decoration for a Delftware painter.
In the period in which clocks were extremely valuable there was a round opening, where currently the clockwork is, in which the pocket watch could be placed. The decorative object was then temporarily transformed into a functional clock. The contemporary extremely elegant clock is decorated with flowers and shows the characteristic Royal Delft bird as well. The hour indication is conveyed with small straight lines, complementing the slender dials. The pendulum is clearly visible as a result of the omission of ceramics.
The borders of these large dishes have been decorated with eight planes. The ‘mirror’, the flat plane of the dish, is abundantly decorated with flowers. In the Golden Age the dishes stood upright on the edges above doors or hearths. Nowadays they lie in hotels and offices filled with summery fruit or walnuts.
Up until this day the Icons of Royal Delft are manufactured the same way they always have been. The decorations and shapes remain unchanged, the quality unparalleled. Up until this day the Icons of Royal Delft are not just acquired for their shape, but more so for the high quality of painting.
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The iconic Delft Blue pieces from Royal Delft are handmade and hand-painted in the workshop in Delft. The process begins with the creation of clay, which is then poured into molds. After a period of drying, the pieces can be finished with a sharp knife and a sponge. An engobe layer provides a smooth and even surface for the master painter to paint the decorative design on the iconic pieces. In the factory, the piece is fired, after which it acquires the iconic Delft Blue color.