Jan's Collecting Gouda Pottery
How it all began
Though, having been born in the Netherlands "many moons ago", it was not until recently when I saw the light regarding the beauty of Gouda Pottery. After having bought, sold and handled a number of pieces, I suddenly and reluctantly had to mail the last few items to an eager buyer at the other side of the globe.
PZH Candlesticks "Nurage"
This 17.5cm tall pair of candlesticks was made in 1931. The pattern is very colourful.
No longer part of my collection.
Stop! - I had become too attached - so prior to sealing the parcel, I had to have a final "peep" before being eternally separated from this piece of history, making sure I had taken a photograph as a "keepsake". How sad, I thought, taking pictures of items before selling them! However, I have since met many people who do the same.The worst part was strolling to the Post Office and handing it to the person behind the glass window. I knew then, that the next piece of Gouda I bought would not leave my home again - that was approximately 60 items ago.
First steps towards collecting
At the time there were three items left at home, nothing spectacular, certainly not when comparing them with the pair of candlesticks I just "carted off" to the Post Office.These three items were actually earmarked for someone in the U.S.A. Fortunately, the deal fell through, which was celebrated with a glass of good wine! I suppose, that was the start.
My first pieces I decided to keep, encouraging me to start a collection. Simple but colourful items, certainly pleasant enough to convert me from dealer to collector! Here they are.
PZH Vase "Eno"
PZH Vases "Beuka" and "Emerance".
A miniature PZH "Liberty of London" vase had already earned a semi-permanent place on the mantelpiece and started to "set root" - by this time it was definitely going to stay.
PZH Vase made for Liberty & Co.
My only Liberty piece. Dates from approximately 1923.
From that day onwards I actively started to search for affordable, irresistible, perfect or imperfect items of Gouda. My initial aim was to acquire a piece of PZH from each year for which a unique date mark existed up to 1932. That would certainly keep me sweet for a while. However, I soon started to deviate from this "pledge" when I stumbled across items from a variety of different potteries. A whole new world announced itself to me. My next ambition, as well as the previous aim, was to try to find pieces from as many different Gouda Potteries as possible. Very ambitious indeed, because what I did not realize at the time was how many there actually were until I found - "The World of Gouda Pottery". This book became a great help and a real eye-opener.
Full blown obsession
These days, when visiting antiques fairs and centres, my head is on a swivel and eyes are scanning from stall to stall. When my radar eyes detect a fine colourful specimen of the early 1900's it seems to be positively jumping up and down on the shelf, until I've had a look and appraised it.
After only two years, the collection is growing bit by bit. To view my entire collection, please visit our "maybeckantiques" website. There is a lot to be said for a stamp collecting - no need for house extensions!
My first E.S.K.A.F. piece initially I wasn't too sure about, as from a distance it looked like a Japanese copy. Where it was displayed did not help either, a glass cabinet in a fairly dark corner. I decided to give it a second glance and tried to have a look at the backstamp, virtually standing upside down, nose pressed to the glass door. I could not read it properly, but I thought I could make out the word "Holland". Well, this was enough to awaken my interest and turned to the "Gaffer" in the shop and asked to have a look at it. I recognized it immediately as E.S.K.A.F. and was happy to part with my hard earned cash after a bit of healthy negotiation!
E.S.K.A.F. Candlestick "277".
My first ESKAF object with colours typical of this pottery.
Several of my finds are not perfect, but I don't really mind. One or two have had major surgery after a fall or some sort of accident. I always think, at least it was valued enough by the previous owner to be repaired again, so who am I to dismiss or ignore an item which has been loved and cared for. It is the overall design, pattern and social history - partly revealed by the information at the bottom - that fascinates me. Our English pottery does not usually provide details to that extent.
I do not have a best or favourite piece but I tend to "home-in" on candlesticks.
The 'Top 10' of my entire collection would possibly include the following:-
PZH Candlestick - "Paris" because of its size - 48 cm tall.
PZH Candlestick - "Simo" which has a fantastic pattern.
PZH Vase - "Zuzada" because of its date - 1932 - not often seen (at least not by me!).
PZH Vase - "Blaren" being the earliest dated item I possess - 1918.
PZH Oil lamp (snotneus) - "Effect" since it's a less common object.
E.S.K.A.F. Candlestick - "227" as I have been searching for a nice example of this pottery for some time - see above.
Iris Clog - "54" because I know virtually nothing about this pottery - I think it is Iris.
Zenith Planter - "Ruby" as most Zenith items I see tend to be the blue and white bottles or decanters.
Schoonhoven Jar - "Donau" it looks really old - yet I am unable to date it.
Distel Dish - "Favorite" again being the first Distel piece I have found prior to Goedewaagen's takeover.
PZH Candlestick: "Paris".
This "chunk" is 48.0cm tall. Made in 1927, not sure about the artist's initials.
PZH Candlestick: "Simo".
Made in 1923, beautiful pattern. Artist M.J. or M.Y.?
PZH Vase: "Zuzada".
After long searching I finally found an item showing the 1932 date mark.
PZH Vase: "Blaren".
As I mentioned, made in 1918, which makes it the oldest piece of my PZH collection.
PZH Oil lamp (Snotneus): "Effect".
Unusual item, therefore, attractive in itself.
Iris Clog: "54".
Mystery item. Is it really an Iris Pottery piece?
Zenith Planter: "Ruby".
Miniature planter. A very simple but colourful item.
Schoonhoven Jar: "Donau".
Very old looking item. Date is about 1930.
Distel Dish: "Favorite".
A small dish, diameter only 7.0cm, early 1920s.
I mentioned above a 'Top 10' but I would like to include another miniature object with a fantastic pattern. Call it a bonus! It is one of my three "Corona" vases. Only 8.5cm tall and very slim.
PZH Vase: "Corona".
Beautiful item, extremely colourful pattern.
My least favourite pieces are a Bergen clog and planter. Not because they are Bergen and therefore, foreign copies, but purely because the clog has "Bruxelles" painted on it, which makes it a tourist piece and the planter because it is really a hideous looking item.
At this point I should like to emphasize, although I may have been born in Holland, I have an aversion to clogs and especially those made for the "tourist trade"!! The quality of the planter is also rather poor. Photographs are not enclosed for diplomatic reasons, however, they can be viewed on my website. I merely bought them because they were cheap and the only Bergen pieces I had ever seen. My ambition is to get hold of one of the finer Bergen items as I have seen many photographs but not found one in real life.
Please note - no offence in my remarks is intended!
Date Marks - PZH
Most of my items, as I assume may be the case with many other Gouda collectors, originated from the PZH factory. For me the main fascination with collecting PZH is not only do you possess a fine work of art but it comes with a complete identity. Pattern name (usually), mould number, year of production - including the month for items made from 1918 to 1921 - and the artist's initials - if only they were all legible!
To establish the exact or even an approximate date of a PZH object made after 1932 is not an easy science. Obviously additional markings such as "Plazuid" - often used from 1928, the addition of "Royal" - after the factory obtained the "Royal predicate" in 1930 - provide additional information regarding age.
After 1932 the specific single year date mark seems to have been abolished. At some point the abbreviation "K.P.Z." - Koninklijke Plateelbakkerij Zuid-Holland - appeared on many items. I am not sure when it was first introduced but it was just a different way of expressing the Royal connection. Some of these symbols can be seen on a few of the more modern items in my collection as shown on our website.
Other date markings.
Left - "V" crossed with a horizontal line is for 1955.
Right - three vertical lines crossed with a horizontal line is for 1954.
"I still have several unanswered questions about many items in my collection.
However, that does not prevent me from collecting even more. I am grateful to Stuart & Kim for allowing me to show you some of my collection"
Jan Wieringa - November 2003
To "Collecting Dutch Delftware Part 1"To "David's Gouda Collection"