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!
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