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Flashback Friendly Friday – A Journey to Delft

DELFT

Delft is a Dutch city renowned for its history of painting. So well preserved since the 17th Century, Delft is also famous as the birthplace of the painter, Vermeer, and home to the exquisite ‘Delft Blue’ earthenware.

I took an English speaking tour at the Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles, the Delftware factory dating back to 1653,considered the Dutch Golden Age.

Unassuming building given the treasures that lie inside

Not only did I see magnificent Delft Blue antiques, (even in the ladies toilets), but I got to watch the artists at work, painting new earthenware plates and vases. It was interesting to note that prior to painting, the artist traces the designated pattern in carbon, using strategically placed dots, made through holes in the tracing.  

The designs are painted in black paint, and the firing process burns off the carbon dots, and changes the black paint to the familiar Delft blue colour.

The official Royal Dutch Delft website has the following visual to explain the process:

The Netherlands’ vast legacy of decoration, both on earthenware and wood is a wonderful inspiration to contemporary artists. If you wish to purchase a hand-painted souvenir, take plenty of money with you, as it is expensive. But it is truly magnificent!

It is useful to delve back in history examining all the various influences that facilitated the development of Dutch folk art. For it is not only the Indian and Oriental world that inspired Dutch painters, but also the Scandinavian world with whom the Dutch were vigorous trading partners.

Linking to Sandy’s Friendly Friday Blog Challenge – Flashback

You may also find Sarah’s Flashback post on Bletchley park interesting.

 

60 thoughts on “Flashback Friendly Friday – A Journey to Delft”

  1. the video was enjoyable (they did a great job showing the stones of making that cool vase) and your flashbacks were fun. I like the looking down the street where Vermeer lived – the lighting and the informal vibe brought us right there.
    side note – I saw a show abut Vermeer (years ago) and they showed his house -but cannot recall if they showed this street view – either way – the show was good

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  2. Beautiful and it makes me homesick. I was born in Rotterdam not far from Delft. Many Dutch cities relate to specialties. Amsterdam to its canals, Edam and Gouda to its cheeses. The Hague to its Peace Palace.
    Of course we have Sydney to Opera House. Coff’s Harbour to its big banana, Canberra to War museum.

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    1. I can well imagine you were homesick looking at the pics, Gerard. I travelled through Rotterdam but didn’t get much of a chance to look around. There is so much beauty in almost every corner of The Netherlands. It is hard to contrast that with the Big Banana. A totally different dynamic there.

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  3. I really enjoyed your post, as I’ve always been a fan of Delft, ever since my dad got me some souvenirs from a work trip to Holland, a lifetime ago 🙂

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    1. Delft ware catches the eye of many of us, Sofia. I admired the artists who painted it with such ease. Perfect lines! So consistent. To are lucky to have done souvenirs fun there. I bought a small platter. I used to hang it in the wall as I didn’t want anyone to break it accidentally.

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  4. What a wonderful history of Delft. I have a friend that collected it but now is going into a retirement home and it’s all going to a thrift store. I wasn’t offered any. But then, I doing my own clearing out as well. Between the delft and the rosemaling, I’m not sure which would be my favorite. That’s such precision work and should be expensive. Thanks for sharing this. I’ll watch the video when I can turn the sound on. It’s been one of those nights and don’t want to wake my daughter.

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    1. I think ceramic painting is much more difficult that Rosemaling. The ceramic artists have to be so precise! I think the Delft artists only paint for 30 mins then rotate and take a break so that they are never painting tired. I don’t think there is any audio except music on that video, Marlene. Keep it muted!

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  5. If you ever come to Toronto, you should visit the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics. Along with an incredible display of ceramics through ages, it gives a fascinating history of how fine china came from China and through a lot of political intrigue became a major industry in Europe. Interesting stuff.

    My appreciation for ceramics only came about when I started to do pottery. I’m still at the rudimentary stages (more so since I’ve been cut-off from studios over the last year) but it’s a whole new area that I want to explore.

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    1. Your Mother would most likely enjoy it very much. The English translation was quite brief in comparison to the Dutch, but we did get the idea of the process of manufacturing the product.

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  6. I finally got to the video and found it quite interesting. It’s not a massive assembly line though each person does what they are good at. A steady hand for each process is required. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. When I was a child growing up in N. Ireland, all china was called Delft. Years later when researching my family history I found a Blue Book (a book that listed all the streets with major shops and businesses) in which my grandfather was listed as a “Delft Merchant” but the family always said he sold china and pot (pottery).

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  8. Just stunning artistry, Mum & I watch a vlog Chateau diaries La Lalande, the lady of the house Stephanie has done tours of places in France where they make similar stunning earthenware as well as famous material manufacturers. The Dutch is so beautiful in it’s patterns & colours I find this sort of artistry so fascinating. I love the photos of the streets & the factory so sweet & unassuming.

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    1. The Netherlands is a picturesque country yet the villages do look unassuming – I might say quaint. The architecture is quite similar in many towns, and there are remnants of old city walls! That was a revelation to me. But then they have been using the Rhine for shipping for centuries.

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              1. Thanks Christa! Some of them remind me of the beautiful patterned fabrics seen in Hindeloopen in the north of the Netherlands. Very old and very traditional but also very attractive to the eye.

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  9. I might have to add Delft to the list of places we need to stop at on our cycle ride through Europe. It’s looks beautiful and cycle friendly!

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    1. Hi Reija, If you are into cycling, The Netherlands is the place to do it. There are very few, if any hills and everyone there rides bicycles. As is Denmark, have a look at any major railway station in Copenhagen or Amsterdam and you will see what I mean. Delft would be an excellent stopover, and I might also recommend heading out to the Rhine to a city called Arnhem. It was a delight and interesting from a historical perspective. When are you going?

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