Delft Pottery Patterns and Marks: Complete Identification Guide

Captured in the majority of beloved Dutch paintings from the 17th Century Golden Age, Delft, a city in the Netherlands, is well known for its legacy in pottery making. Tracing back centuries, Delft pottery is still in production today. However, it is the antique ceramic ware that excites collectors.

Made in a variety of formats and styles, genuine Delft Pottery is high in demand today. However, while it is easy for experienced collectors to distinguish fake copies from the real Delftware, beginning collectors often struggle with Delft Pottery identification.

To identify Delft pottery, one needs to understand Delftware patterns and marks. In this detailed guide, we will make the identification process easier for you. By the time you reach the end of this guide, you should know how to separate fakes from the real Delft pottery.

History of Delft Pottery

1500: Delftware Starts in Antwerp

While Delft Pottery is synonymous with the city of Delft, historically speaking , Delftware originated in Antwerp. Around 1500, an Italian potter known as Guido da Savino started making ceramic artwork very similar to what was eventually produced in Delft.

1585: Potters Free Antwerp to Settle in Delft

Ongoing conflicts in Antwerp forced potters to flee the city towards the end of the 16th century. After fleeing Antwerp in 1585, the potters later settled in the city of Delft.

1602: Delft Becomes a Major Producer of Pottery Products

Once in Delft, the potters worked to reproduce the trending pottery at the time – Chinese porcelain. Starting in 1602 , Delft City became known for its pottery products – this led to the establishment of the Delftware trademark.

1600 to 1700: Delft Pottery Becomes Popular Among Rich Families

In the two centuries between 1600 and 1800, Delft pottery was immensely popular. It was collected by wealthy families throughout the world.

Unfortunately, however, for many potters, Delft pottery went out of fashion slowly. This forced the potters to close their doors one by one. By the time 1653 rolled in, only one pottery producer remained active – this producer was known as the Royal Dutch.

Late 1800: Delft Pottery Regains Its Popularity

After losing its popularity towards the end of the 17th century, Delft Pottery started regaining its appeal in the late 19th century . Antique collecting was responsible for restoring the Delft Pottery fame.

How to Identify Delft Pottery Patterns

To identify genuine Delft pottery, you will need to follow the steps outlined below:

Step 1: Check the Color

Virtually all Delft Pottery (over 90%) produced was blue and white. While other colors – like orange and red were used – they were less popular.

Some of the reasons why most of the Delft pottery pieces used blue and white colors include:

  • Delft pottery was designed to mimic Chinese porcelain. Chinese pottery utilized white and blue colors.
  • During production, using blue was easier compared to using red.
  • Blue and white Delft pottery were cheaper than red and white pottery.

The white color on Delft pottery was due to the tin glaze used to coat the pottery. During production, the earthenware was dipped into a bath carrying tin glaze containing salt, soda, sand, tin oxide, and lead before getting fired in a kiln at about 800 to 1000 degrees Celsius. Once fired, the tin oxide created the opaque, shiny, white glossy background common on Delft pottery.

The blue color often used to put decorations on Delft pottery was prepared with paint containing cobalt oxide. While cobalt oxide is grey, it turns blue once fired in a kiln at temperatures between 800 and 1000 degrees Celsius. The more cobalt utilized in the paint, the brighter the blue color on Delft pottery.

Step 2: Check for Stilt Marks

Check for Stilt Marks

Stilt marks are small pieces of clay that were used to keep chargers and plates separated in the kiln during the firing process. Stilts kept the plates and chargers from touching and fusing upon cooling.

The stilts were routinely broken off after firing. However, stilt marks remained. Most Delft pottery produced in the late 17th century and through the 18th century – except for the blue dash – will show a distinctive elongated scar on their back.

The blue dash plates and chargers produced during the early 18th century and the second half of the 17th century were fired upside down. This caused a small round scar on the front. Both types of stilt marks, however, are common in triangular patterns.

Stilt Marks

Step 3: Check the Pottery for Maker’s Marks

Flip your pottery over and check its underside. The majority of Delftware pieces feature an emblem mark at the bottom.

Examine the bottom surface for a blue marking. On older Delft pieces, the mark may be partially rubbed off.

Step 4: Check the Maker’s Mark for Authenticity

The original Delft pottery featured a mark scribed in a font closely resembling the Times New Roman. One of the most common designs is a big blue “V” that has an “O” on Its upper left side and “C” on the upper right side.

Step 5: Look for a Crown

The crown generally appears above the writings, “Made in Holland, Delft Blue, Hand painted.” The most common design features a cross in the top middle and has a diamond below.

Step 6: Use the Expertise of a Local Antique Appraiser

If you still can’t confirm whether what you have in hand is genuine Delft pottery, working with a professional can help you. You can find an antique appraiser online or through a historical society.

How to Identify Delft Pottery Marks – List of Delft Pottery Marks

Delft pottery marks are key to separating genuine Delftware from copies. Below, we will look at the maker’s marks used by Delft pottery over the years:

Delft Pottery Produced Between 1653 and 1655

Between 1653 and 1655, Delftware did not carry any trademarks. For this reason, antique pottery from this period may not have a maker’s mark.

In the two years running from 1653 to 1655, Delftware was largely produced by David Anthonisz van der Pieth . David Anthonisz van der Pieth is known for founding “De Porceleyne Fles” which later became Royal Delft.

Delftware Produced Between 1655 and 1697

Delftware Produced Between 1655 and 1697

Delftware pottery produced between 1655 and 1697 had the trademark shown above. During this period, Delft pottery was largely produced by a man known as Quirinus van Cleynhoven.

Delft Pottery Produced Between 1697 and 1701

Delft Pottery Produced Between 1697 and 1701

Johannes Knotter took over Delftware production in 1697. He was the first pottery producer to introduce the jar common in Delftware trademarks. In 1701, Knotter sold the Delft pottery business to Marcelis de Vlught.

Delft Pottery Between 1701 and 1762

In the years running between 1701 and 1762, the Delftware business changed hands twice – the first time when it was purchased by Marcelis de Vlucht in 1701 and the second time when it was purchased by Christoffel van Doorne in 1750.

During this period, Delftware did not have a trademark.

Delft Pottery Produced Between 1762 and 1771

Delft Pottery Produced Between 1762 and 1771

A new Delft pottery trademark was re-introduced by Pieter van Doorne for the first time after 62 years. The new trademark featured the initials “P” and “D,” representing the owner’s name. The new trademark lasted until 1771 when a new owner took over the business.

Delft pottery Produced Between 1771 and 1786

Delft pottery Produced Between 1771 and 1786

When Jacobus Harlees acquired Delft pottery, he introduced a new trademark. The trademark carried his name’s initials – that is, “H” and “L”. Jacobus Harlees also re-introduced the jar for the first time in over 70 years.

Delft Pottery Produced Between 1786 and 1804

Delft Pottery Produced Between 1786 and 1804

Between 1786 and 1804, the Delft pottery was under the leadership of Dirck Harlees. The son of Jacobus Harlees, Dick Harlees took over the business when his father died. Dirck Harlees changed the Delftware trademark to the one indicated above.

Delft Pottery Produced Between 1804 and 1849

Delft Pottery Produced Between 1804 and 1849

Henricus Arnold Piccardt took over the Delftware business in 1804 and ran it until 1849. During this period, Delft pottery was using the maker’s mark indicated above.

Delft Pottery Produced Between 1849 and 1876

Delft Pottery Produced Between 1849 and 1876

Between 1849 and 1876, Delft pottery was under the leadership of Geertruida Piccardt. The trademark used during this period featured the owner’s initials – “G” and “P’ – and what resembled an upside-down jar.

Delft Pottery Made After 1876

Delft Pottery Made After 1876

After 1876, Delft Pottery decided to maintain the same trademark. The trademark featured a jar at the top, the marker’s initials (for example, on the mark above, the initials are JT), and the city of Delft.

Delft Pottery Produced in 1912

Delft Pottery Produced in 1912

Most of the Delftware produced in 1912 carried the Royal Goedewaagen mark. The mark above was found on a vase produced in 1912.

Delft Pottery Produced Between 1935 and 1945

Delft Pottery Produced Between 1935 and 1945

Between 1935 and 1945, Delft pottery was largely produced by N.V. Plateelbakkerij RAM. The company used the mark indicated above.

Delft Pottery Produced Between 1945 and 1985

Delft Pottery Produced Between 1945 and 1985

In 1945, RAM Arnhem stopped its production. At the same time, a new company by the name RAAM Delfter Faience was founded.

The new company took over the old company’s employees and molds. The RAAM Delfter Faience used the trademark shown above until the early 1980s.

Delft Pottery OUD Mark

Delft Pottery OUD Mark

The OUD Delft factory was established by a man known as Roeof Elshout in 1920. The handpainted OUD mark indicated above was used between `1940 and 1968. After 1968, the mark changed to the one below:

Delft Pottery OUD Mark-2

Handmade Products

Handmade Products

Some of the handmade products produced by Royal Delft had two distinct maker’s marks. The first one has a jar and the name “ROYAL DELFT” under it. The second has a crown on top, the name “ROYAL DELFT” and the year 1653.

How Much is Delft Pottery Worth

Rare Delft pottery can be worth a lot of money – in the past, some pieces have sold for over $200,000 . In the following section, we will take a look at some of the most valuable Delftware ever sold:

No.
Delftware
Year Sold
Selling Price
1.
London Delft Polychrome Dish
2011
$218,000
2.
London Delft Blue and White Candlestick
2011
$146,000
3.
London Delft Blue & White Goblet
2011
$122,500
4.
English Delft Royal Commemorative Mug
2002
$111,523
5.
London Delft Armorial Moulded Dish
2008
$72,470

1. London Delft Polychrome Dish

A LONDON DELFT DATED POLYCHROME DISH
A LONDON DELFT DATED POLYCHROME DISH Image source: Invaluable

The most valuable Delft pottery we came across was sold on 24th January 2011. While the London Delft Polychrome Dish was estimated to sell at between $120,000 and $180,000, the Delftware had a final price of $218,500. The Delftware dates back to the year 1638.

2. London Delft Blue and White Candlestick

London Delft Blue and White Candlestick
London Delft Blue and White Candlestick Image source: Invaluable

Sold on 24th January 2011, the London Delft Blue and White Candlestick was initially estimated to have a price sitting between $70,000 and $100,000. However, the candlestick realized a price of $146,000. The candlestick dates back to 1653.

3. London Delft Blue & White Goblet

London Delft Blue & White Goblet
London Delft Blue & White Goblet Image source: Invaluable

Sold on 24th January 2011, London Delft Blue & White Goblet was estimated to cost between $30,000 and $50,000. However, being extremely rare, the goblet fetched a final price of $122,500. The goblet dates back to 1656.

4. English Delft Royal Commemorative Mug

English Delft Royal Commemorative Mug
English Delft Royal Commemorative Mug Image source: Invaluable

Sold on 11th October 2002, this English Delft Royal Commemorative Mug was initially estimated to cost $62,000 – $93,000. The mug, however, had a final realized price of $111,523. The commemorative mug dates back to 1660.

5. London Delft Armorial Moulded Dish

London Delft Armorial Moulded Dish
London Delft Armorial Moulded Dish Image source: Invaluable

Sold on 10th December 2008, London Delft Armorial Moulded Dish was estimated to cost between £40,000-£60,000. The molded dish, however, realized a final price of £54,000 which is equivalent to $72,470. The molded dish dates back to between 1649 and 1651.

Conclusion

Also known as Delftware or Delft blue, Delft pottery has been around for more than 4 centuries. Officially introduced in 1602, Delftware has gained popularity among collectors over the years. Today, the rarest pieces are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The goal of this detailed guide is to help you distinguish genuine Delftware from copies and fakes. Covering everything from the history of Delftware to the different trademarks used by Delftware manufacturers, this guide answers common questions often asked by Delftware collectors.

If you feel like you need more information on Delftware collecting, we are more than ready to provide this information. All you will have to do is leave your questions in our comment section.

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