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History of Delft Blue

Delft Blue is the world-famous pottery that has been produced in the city of Delft since the 17th century. Between 1600 and 1800, it was popular among rich families who would show off their Delft Blue collections to one another. Although the Delftware potters preferred to call their pottery “porcelain”, it was only a cheaper version of the real Chinese porcelain. Delft Blue was not made from the typical porcelain clay, but from clay that was coated with a tin glaze after it was fired. In spite of this, Delft Blue achieved unrivalled popularity, and at its peak, there were 33 factories in Delft. Of all of these factories, the only one remaining today is Royal Delft.

  • Delft Blue is inextricably linked to the Netherlands.
  • Visit the Royal Delft Experience, the last remaining earthenware factory.
  • Shop for original Delft Blue earthenware in Delft.

Rise of Delft Blue

Various trends in pottery may be observed throughout the centuries. In 1550, Majolica pottery from Spain and Italy was the trend. Many potters in Antwerp copied the popular pottery until they were forced to flee the city from Spanish conquerors in 1585. The potters regrouped in Delft, where they concentrated on reproducing the latest trend, Chinese porcelain, starting in 1602. From that time onward, the city of Delft has been inextricably linked to Delft Blue pottery.

Delft Blue today

Between 1600 and 1800, Delft was one of the most important pottery producers in Europe. The Delft Blue pottery was immensely popular, and was collected by rich families throughout the world. Unfortunately, for many potters, Delft Blue also went out of fashion, and one by one, they had to close their doors. The only one that has remained in operation since 1653 is de Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles, known as Royal Dutch, a company that continues to produce the Delft Blue pottery according to the traditional methods. Other locations where visitors can see pottery are in the many souvenir shops around the central market square (Grote Markt) in Delft.

Visit the Royal Delft Experience

Where better to admire Delft Blue than in the Royal Delft Experience, the last remaining earthware factory in Delft. Experience the craftsmanship behind their hand-painted pottery and learn all about the history and production process of Delft Blue during a guided tour.

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