Delft pottery is a blue and white glazed pottery made in and around the city of Delft in the Netherlands, which had its heyday between 1640 and 1740. Painted pottery was produced in Delft since around 1500, but the iconic blue and white patterns were inspired by the porcelain imported from China by the Dutch East India Company in the early 17th century. Only the richest could afford the original Chinese pieces, but soon the Dutch master potters were copying the detailed designs, making them affordable to nearly all.
Delftware ranged from simple earthenware jars to vases, from tiles to intricately patterned plates. Whole ranges of plates were produced featuring religious motifs, traditional Dutch landscapes and even the words to poems or songs – once the plates were clear, the assembled dinner guests would burst into chorus. Many houses in the Netherlands still retain their Delftware tiles today.
From the mid-eighteenth century Delftware began to lose its popularity to British porcelain, however a few factories remain in production to the modern day. ‘Delfts Blauw’ (Delft Blue) is the brand name which can be found on all genuinely Delft-produced pottery.