Collecting Dutch Delftware - Part 1

Doreen & George Gallimore are avid collectors of Gouda and Delftware. We thank them for allowing us to see some of their collection. In sharing their obvious enthusiasm and knowledge, we hope it will inspire others.

We are fairly new collectors of Delftware, taking up the hobby when we both retired. It was only through trawling through the internet and studying "Discovering Dutch Delftware" by Stephen J. van Hook, that we realised what a complex and interesting hobby we had chosen.

In theory, the term Delftware or 'Delft' can refer to anything from antiques made in Delft during the 17th and 18th centuries, to the very modern tourist pieces still being made in Holland. You collect what aspect of it you like. We have met several people who just collect what they term 'Dutch Blue', just because they like the colour, patterns and pictures. They have no idea of the age, history or factory where the piece was produced, nor even if it was from a factory in Holland. We have no problem with this - they are collecting what appeals to them. We, however, prefer to collect 'modern' Delftware - 1870 onwards -from factories in Holland known to make good pieces. Half the enjoyment is in the search, the rest the research. Once you have found an interesting piece, you try to identify the date, the artist, etc.

There is no need to spend a lot of money. It is possible when searching around to find pieces for less than £5 (GBP) but for the rarer pieces from say De Porceleyne Fles Factory (Royal Delft) you would expect to pay very much more.

There have been many factories in Holland producing Delftware - here below are just four of the main ones with examples from our collection.

De Porceleyne Fles (Royal Delft) - 1653 onwards

The De Porceleyne Fles Factory (The Porcelain Bottle) is situated in the town of Deft. Our first 'Fles' buy was this 20.0cm jar with a lion on the stopper.

When we bought this, the only thing we recognised was the factory mark, resembling a 'pot or bottle' with what appeared to be the letter 'F' beneath it. In fact it is J&T combined, standing for Joost Thooft who introduced this mark in 1876. Some people think it stands for 'Fles'. from research, we found that the year of production was 1894, confirmed by the date code of 'p' on the base. The other mark, that of the craftsman, refers to Petrus Johannes Gerbrands who was employed as an artist from 1889 to 1931.

De Porceleyene Fles (Royal Delft) - 1653 onwards

One of our most prized finds, also from the Fles Factory. This picture, in its original frame, is made up of 4 tiles, each one is 10.0cm square.

The signature mark suggests that the individual responsible for producing this piece was the master designer Leon Senf who worked at the Fles Factory from 1878 to 1930. The year of production is 1882, confirmed by the date code 'D'. The Dutch artist Adriaan van Ostade (1610 -1685) who may have studied with the Dutch Master Frans Hals, painted the original from which this was taken.

De Delftse Pauw - 1954 onwards


The De Delfts Pauw factory (The Delft Peacock) is also in the town of Delft. This is an attractive 40.0cm circumference bowl in the typical De Delftse Pauw style

It is not possible to date this piece as the practice of coding only began in 1991. Anything produced prior to this would just have the factory mark and the artist's initials. In this particular case is MG, as seen on the base picture.

Plateelbakkerij "Zuid Holland"- 1898 to 1964



The Zuid (PZH) factory is in the town of Gouda, Holland.

In addition to producing the typical Gouda pieces the factory also produced Delftware. This coloured 10.0cm Delft (poly) Zuid mini clog is dated 1926. The initials on the base suggest the artist to be Johannes Wilhelmus van Schaich or Steenwinkel who were two of the ‘better’ artists at PZH. This was a bargain at £5 (GBP).

"Zenith" - 1915 to 1984



The Zenith factory is also in Gouda, Holland. In 1935 they switched from making the typical Gouda to blue and white Delftware.

This 13.0cm jug, complete with stopper, once contained the spirit ‘Bols’. A canal house painting is on the front of the jug with flowers and leaves on the sides and back.

The date of production is c.1950.

"As you can see from these few examples the scope of shapes, patterns and colours of pieces produced by the various factories is endless. Once you become familiar with Delftware it is possible to identify the factory just by appearance. The search for Delftware is very interesting but satisfaction comes when you discover that ‘special’ piece."

Doreen & George Gallimore - December 2001

Collection of Steve & WaldoForward to Part 2