Delft: For the Love of BLUE & WHITE

Do you love decorating with Blue and White? Long a French Country favorite, a home decorated in blue and white is timeless, classic, and well, simply put, gorgeous!
In the September issue of Romantic Homes Magazine, you can read my article about collecting Dutch Delft and Makkums pottery……





Dutch Delft and Makkum pottery was inspired by elegant chinoiserie designs in blue and white. Completely hand painted, beautifully decorative and more affordable than ever before, there has never been a better time to assemble a collection of these antique and vintage pottery pieces to display in your home.




In the mid 16th century, Dutch factories were producing “majolica” wares, pottery with tin glazes, for useful as well as decorating purposes.  Delft, a city whose name means to dig, was the capital of the arts in Holland, as well as one of the most important earthenware production centers in Europe between 1600 and 1800.
At the same time, Royal Tichelaar Makkum was producing pottery in the province of Friesland.  At first this Dutch majolica pottery was influenced by Spanish and Italian pieces. Once the Dutch East India Company began importing porcelain from China, all of Europe became enamored with the blue and white Chinese porcelains. Their decorative design elements of gardens, florals and landscapes were all the rage, and the Delft and Makkum factories began to imitate the Chinese blue and white patterns.
As China was in the throes of a civil war, and goods traveled long to arrive on Europe’s shores, Dutch potters created their own versions of the Chinese porcelains, but in pottery.
Bought and collected by the higher society from countries all over the world,  Delft Blue and Makkum earthenware urns, decorative plates, and large vases were skillfully hand painted by artists with refined florals, ornamental birds and typical Dutch landscapes. Tiles, used in homes, castles and churches alike as a safety measure around fireplaces and in kitchens, were produced by the hundreds of thousands. In the middle of the “golden age” there were over 400 factories producing the Delft tiles.

By the late 19th century, less expensive porcelain from overseas overtook the market, and the immense popularity of Delft and Makkum pieces came to an end. Today, only the Royal Delft, The Delftse Pauw, and Royal Tichelaar Makkum Factories are still in operation.
What is Delftware

Delft pottery, or Delfts Blauw as it is called in Dutch, is a soft earthenware pottery sealed with a lead and tin oxide opaque glaze.  True Delftware has been made in Holland, since the 16th century {and in many other countries} but Delfts Blue or Delfts Blauw comes from Holland.
Although the potteries liked to call their products porcelain, Delftware is not made of porcelain, but clay. It was really a less expensive copy of the Chinese porcelain that inspired it, a soft and easily chipped pottery.
Delftware was also made in soft colored enamels, called polychrome Delft, with a muted palette of reds, greens and yellows. This colored Delftware is equally as beloved and avidly collected.
What to Look For
1. Marks. True Delft Blue and Makkum will have underglaze marks of the factory, the marks are always hand painted.


Delft mark



Makkum mark



2. Condition.  As with all antiques, buy the best quality you can afford. In truly old pieces, a small chip shouldn’t mar the beauty of a piece, but is acceptable.  Find some antique Delft to see in person, to familiarize yourself with the quality. The pieces currently being sold as souvenirs, while attractive to look at, are not the same quality as the antique Delftware pieces.
3. Hand Painting.  True Delftware and Makkum pottery was hand painted with great skill. Look for pieces that are well painted, and exude great artistry. No two pieces will ever be alike, each is a one-of-a-kind.
4. Rare or unusual pieces. The more unusual pieces are the most valuable and collectable. Tea canisters, cow figures, and cruet sets are more rare to find, and therefore more expensive. Tiles, due to their massive production, are less expensive, but can be lovely when grouped together on a shelf, or displayed on a wall.
Dutch pottery tiles, chargers, small plates and bowls decorated with elements from everyday life featuring seascapes, canal scenes, fishing boats and village vignettes are charming when displayed together. The popularity of Delftware is on the rise again, if you love blue and white, this is the time to buy. These antique pieces will bring European flair to your home!
How to decorate with Delft Blue
So how does Blue and White, or polychrome {Many colors} Delftware look at its best? One piece is nice, but it’s only when pieces are grouped together that they really make a statement, don’t you think?
When I first unpacked this beautiful pottery from Holland, I decorated our guest room mantel with it. The pieces above are all colored, these tend to be a little bit more work to paint, which makes them a little more expensive than just the blue and white, but aren’t they beautiful?
A group of smaller plates looks so decorative on a wall, like this group of smaller plates, each is different, and I love the combination of blue and white, and polychrome.  No matter how you display Delftware and Makkum, these pieces add personality and your own genius flair for decorating to your home!
To see some of the Delft and Makkum pieces currently in the shop for sale click here | GO TO DELFTWARE. I’ll be adding more next week, so be sure to check back!
Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and uniquely yours. Visit our shop


16 thoughts on “Delft: For the Love of BLUE & WHITE”

  1. When we were in Amsterdam last year, I was looking to bring home Delf. But let me tell you, it is very expensive. I brought home 5 antique pieces and they are beautiful. I stage them all together on the family room fireplace with other pieces of blue and white, thereby getting to see them all day every day. Thanks for showing us your pieces.

  2. Ginger Valdes

    Another lovely post Lidy. Blue and white, ahh. My first love. And the affair continues!

  3. John Paul

    I love the pieces you were able to acquire for us, your customers! Each one is beautiful, I am going to go to your online shop right now to buy another one to add to our collection! Happy Saturday.

  4. I have some authentic Delft from my mother, who came to the US from Holland when she was 16. A few other pieces, I managed to pick up here and there – including authentic Delft from a yard sale for $1. The woman’s mother had been a collector and the woman honestly had no idea what she was even selling. I love having it in my home now. BTW, I love the scenes painted on those tiles!
    Best & Bisous,
    Michelle from Simply Santa Barbara

    1. Thank you Shirley….coming from you that means a lot to me.

  5. JaneEllen

    Thank you for wonderful facts about Delftware. Personally I love to see the blue and white mixed with polychrome, to my eyes is prettier and shows the differences. Think maybe my Mother might have had couple pieces of Delft but the daughter who cleaned out her house didn’t know difference/what it was. {This one big reason my Mother gave her things away before she wasn’t able to have control of how they were distributed.}

    Loved learning about this, always good to know about different things. I have been showing my own daughter what I have that is valuable which have collected over years. So what happened to another person’s precious collectibles won’t be sold for $1 as in comment from Michelle Mortenson.

    1. You are so welcome, JaneEllen! It’s a great idea to tell your children NOW what you have, and what is valuable, in the hopes that they may love it too once we are no longer there, I agree.

  6. Sandy C

    Love these, will they all be available on your website?

    1. Yes, Sandy, they will be available on the website, most of them are there now, some others will be added next week…thank you for the interest!

  7. Hi, Lidy,
    Yes I LOVE BLUE, and have many pieces and the new Victorian magazine has a great show of the blue Calico print, love it have a few pieces to, I love everything it seems but that is what makes life interesting, have a great week and thank you for all your wonderful photos~~~~~~

  8. Marilyn

    I love the Delft. The blue and white combo is so pretty and classy looking.

  9. I use a collection of Delftware to decorate my wall. I mix it up with other plates and tiles, hang it symmetrically along the wall. Looks so gorgeous and I can see them on my wall everyday.

  10. Yuliana

    The blue and white colors in delftware are always inspiring and suitable as a room decorator. As a delftware lover I really like all that is related with delftware.

  11. Yuliana, I agree, the blue and white IS always inspiring! It makes any room look fresh, and welcoming, doesn’t it?

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