The Second World War had left the provinces of North and South Holland in ruins. The great Gouda companies were still there, but their days were numbered. Here continues Henk Veentjer's absorbing and intriguing articles on the saga of Gouda. It is hoped that we will show you larger photos and more detailed descriptions of some examples at a later date. The remarks contained in this article are of Henk's own personal thoughts and of those with whom he corresponded. Please note - some of the 'unknowns' Henk mentions are now know known since the extensive research by Ron Tasman for The Gouda Pottery Book.
Part 2 - "Post War Gouda"
"PZH" - stopped its activities in 1964 and was officially declared bankrupt in 1965. The strange thing is that the greater part of the company's vast documentation just vanished into thin air and for the most part, has been unretrievable until this very day. Post war ceramics were mainly floral by design, see "Buenos" below, usually of very good quality but after the death of Mr W.A.Hoyng in 1954, the artistic level of the items dramatically dropped.
An example of late PZH Gouda in the "Buenos" pattern. Made between the late 1930's and 1940's. Still of good quality.
"Regina" - had turned to Delftware after the recession years and after the war it did not change its course - "Delft" just sold better. Regina never stopped producing matte Gouda decorative items, however, it was on a much smaller scale. The factory had to close in 1979 but the name and part of the inventory were taken over by a company at Bergschenhoek which added "Trade Mark" to the original name.
"Zenith" - its course is similar to Regina - a "conversion" to the Delft style in the 1930's, limited production of the original Gouda (see example right). After the war, new styles were experimented with - but to no avail. In 1984 it merged with the famous Delftware company "De Porcelijne Fles".
"Ivora" - a small company of which little is known. Produced post war items but are hard to find and might, therefore, be valuable? We do know for certain that the factory produced decorated commemorative wall plates and sometimes part of their work was put out to PZH. In those cases, the word "Princess" was added to the ceramic mark. The Ivora factory closed in 1965.
"Iris" - another small company was founded in Gouda in 1925 and taken over by Animo/Montagne in 1968, who continued to use the name of Iris. We know very little about the items made but they can be recognised by a small "Iris-flower" in the ceramic mark or just by the word Iris.
The big survivor in this story is the "Royal Goedewaagen" company, which will be dealt with in a concise separate chapter.
"It is of interest to interject here and note that for my information about the new factories established in Gouda from 1945 onwards, I had several written contacts with a great expert on Gouda ceramics, Mr Friggo Visser, curator of the Goedewaagen museum at Nieuw Buinen, in the province of Drenthe. Providing me with very useful information was another specialist, Mr Dick Bode. He lives in Gouda and as well as an impressive collection, has studied the pre and post-war developments of Gouda ceramics for over 13 years. For the remaining part, I researched items myself, gleaning information on unknown names, comparing decorations, handwriting on marks and many other specifics. This all helped me to put together some of the pieces of an incomplete puzzle! The word "incomplete" has been chosen on purpose as I will explain further below.
I believe there is something "funny" going on - in 1945 some 150 (!) companies registered at the Gouda Chambers of Commerce ('Kamer van Koophandel) and applied for a quota of electricity (the energy supplies were rationed in those days). The strange thing is that of the vast majority of the names of factories have remained virtually unknown to the public until this very day - let alone the items they made. Dick Bode knows about 140 of the names but when he approached the Gouda 'Kaner van Koophandel, he discovered that they were not willing to provide him with information. He was asked to mention names of companies - he would then gain limited access to information. This was a near impossible task but eventually with this, studying old newspapers, city archives and interviewing former PZH employees, some progress was made. I advised him to write a book about his findings."
"Flora" - was by far the best known company, a name that is very controversial in the eyes of Gouda collectors. However, I will make an attempt to do this factory some justice in a separate article to follow this one.
"Modica" - a name you will come across, was a direct Flora spin-off company. It was founded by two brothers, Frans and Peter Eikenboom in July 1969. They were the sons of the Flora founder and first managing director. It produced a huge quantity of decorative ceramics and they tried to revive the "old" Gouda style but somehow the designs lacked power. Transfer printed floral decorations were tried but the designs became quite basic and often mono-colour. The "Petra" vase shown here is decorated with transfer prints and the lines are applied by hand. Most Modica just bear the oval ceramic mark.
Personally I am not attracted to the pottery, it does not "stand out" and lacks any "classy" style. Modica closed in 1990.
"Jumbo" - was a rather successful company. The exact dates of this factory are not known. We may assume that it was founded in the late 1950's, did well for a couple of years and then finally merged with the Montagne company in about 1997, losing its name in the process. Jumbo's style is certainly recognisable. Here is shown a sticker from one of my pieces. Dick Bode describes it as "abundant, verging on baroque". An example of Jumbo can be seen by locating Picture 10 on the Collectors Index Page.
"Tiko" - a small company which produced some good quality Blue Delft and experimented with ceramics in the recession style - layers of glazing in combination with hand painted accents. For the greater part, however, Tiko concentrated on floral designs, some of impressive quality but usually somewhat "common". This Tiko vase "Grislan" clearly shows the 1930's look. Tiko was founded in 1945 and closed in 2001.
This leads me to mention an almost perfect way for you to recognise newly made Gouda ceramics.
- In most cases floral elements are being used, often in combination with gold coloured linings. For the greater part the pattern is transfer printed. Some hand painting does exist and is recognisable as such.
- The shapes are usually similar to the popular ones of the 1930's - see Jumbo pictures.
- The name of Gouda is not always mentioned on the ceramic mark - if there is a mark at all - you may just find "Made in Holland".
"Silhouet" - a very small company suggests that in terms of designing, their aims were very limited. No details of the factory are known.
"Ter Gouw" - founded in 1938. Went bankrupt in 1991. Floral decorations again, style sometimes half Gouda and half Delft. I have seen some good pieces but others were downright tasteless.
"NKI" - was another newcomer, founded in 1942, it continued producing until 2001.
"ADA" - was a small, possibly Gouda company, which had a "crush" for Delft. It's ceramic mark is a triangle with a small vertical line in its base (left picture). This mark creates a lot of confusion, since two companies use this symbol. "ADA" specialised in Polychrome Delft but the other company named "Pyramide" (left picture and below), produced Blue Delft . This firm was one of the 140 companies that Dick Bode has identified. The exact relation between ADA and Pyramide is not clear.
Pyramide Delfts mark.
"Irisée" - a name I found on a magnificent vase. Again, this is a Gouda company we know very little about. On seeing the vase, one immediately understands the name - the glazing is indeed very iridescent - thus enhancing the floral design - see picture.
As one can see, the problem of identifying a vase as a "Gouda" one is not that difficult but the confusing issue is - are we dealing with a factory name or with a decoration name? To illustrate the problem of - "which companies made what?" - here I introduce two items - small pitchers, different annotations on mark. The decorations are to some extent familiar, possibly related but the nature of the link cannot be established at this time. One pitcher has a name "Majolica" and number "515". The other just tells us "Made in Holland". Both are certainly Gouda and their decorations are related without doubt
Was "Majolica" a name of a company? Rather likely. Was "Made in Holland" produced by the same factory? May well have been. Allow me to involve you further - please compare the decorations at the edge of the "Made in Holland" pitcher and the "Irisée" vase?.... you see, ceramics can be a puzzling yet dazzling activity.
Note - updated - regarding the decors marked 'Majolica' - it is now known that those backstamps that have a reddish/orange colour were probably made by Plateelfabriek Tiko. Other factories also made decors called 'Majolica'.
The final item to underline the puzzle is a splendid piece of Gouda. 1930's in style but not made in that period. There is only a number on the base - 52. Is this a production number or a decoration number? No one here in the Netherlands has been able to find the answers to these questions - yet!
"De Wit Aardewerk-Fabriek" - a rather old company that could not escape from the shadow of its great brothers. Founded in the late 1920's, never received much attention and after the war, at the end of the 1950's, was absorbed by the Montagne company. Montagne is one of the very few factories still in Gouda.
"De Drietand" (the Trident) factory - very small having just one designer. This tiny company specialises in relation gifts - small giveaway items.
Here are some more names for you - "Osiris", "Isiris" - (they did have a sense for fancy names after the war, didn't they?) - "Astrid" and finally "Vest Keramiek". The latter one probably still exists, producing very simple pottery. See in 'The Gouda Pottery Book 'for information on Vest Keramiek - Stuart.
The "Vest Keramiek" mug, shown above with it's label, has been added for the sake of completeness to my article. I wanted to show as many aspects of new Gouda as possible. For this reason I bought this humble item and photographed it.
Henk Veentjer - December 2001.
To Part 1