Thursday, June 4, 2009

Famous Delftware Pottery Factories (Deflt Blue)

Author: Dipesh Dey

Royal Delft
Delft Station Centrum -> Bus 121 or 129 -> 3rd Stop: Jaffalaan/TU Aula (TU Delft campus); 5 min. walk; Rotterdamseweg 196; Tel: 015-251-2030.

Delft Pottery De Delftse Pauw (Pauw means Peacock in the Dutch)
Delft Station Centrum / UNESCO-IHE -> Tram 1 (Delft-Scveningen) -> 3rd Stop: Vrijenbanselaan/Brasserskade -> 5 min. walk through good township with a canal running in the middle, road signs of De Pauw can be seen all the way through from stop to factory; Delftweg 133.

Delft blue pottery or more commonly known as Delftware, are always painted by hand. The designs are created by hired painters. The product that is painted on is called “bisque”. The painters use black paint always. This paint contains cobalt oxide and copper oxide. The cobalt oxide is the main ingredient to change the black color into Delft Blue. After the product is painted it is glazed. Then it goes to the kiln for a second firing process, where at temperature around 12000C for 24 hours a chemical reaction changes the black color to Delft Blue. The gray shades in the black paint are a mixture of water and paint. The more water is added, the lighter the shade becomes. Painting is a very precise and delicate job, because the bisque is porous and readily adsorbs paint. The mistakes cannot be erased.

Kaoline, feldspar, chalk and quartz are made into a slurry with water and poured into a plaster mould. One plaster mould can be used 50-80 times. The plaster mould absorbs the water from the clay slurry and a thick crust forms inside. When the thickness is enough, the mould is turned upside down, to pour out the remaining slurry. This is how the hollow form is obtained. For some more time, depending on the thickness and length of the crust, its left undisturbed. The clay crust inside shrink in the end and thus can be easily removed form the mould. The lines and irregularities are removed with knife and sponge. Then it can be painted.

The several styles of pottery are:

1. Delft Blue: Dutch interpretation of Chinese porcelain. Tulip Vase is most famous based on sales record. In the 17th century tulip was a very exclusive and expensive flower. A tulip vase is a status symbol and rich people could show their wealth by demonstrating it. Today, tulip is a cheap flower, but vases are expensive.
2. Polychrome: First produced in Delft in 17 the century and known as “Majolica”. It is a joyful style based on ceramics from Italy and Spain.
3. Pijnacker (Red, Blue and Gold): 17th century Dutch version of Japanese “Imari” earthenware. For gold, real gold is used, the most expensive style and still the status symbol for many rich Dutch people.
4. Delft Black: Originated in 17th century, known as “The Miraculous Delft Black” and reintroduced in 1978. This style is inspired by Chinese laquerware.
5. Tile picture: One complete picture consists of 3 parts (a total of 28 meters) and represents the people of Amsterdam celebrating the winery harvest. Today, a partial picture can be seen in the restaurant “Die Port van Cleve” in Amsterdam.

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