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Collecting Pottery:
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Henri Deux Ware, Etc.
Palissy Ware
Paris And Its Environs
Glazed Pottery Of France

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Stockholm, Rorstrand, and Marieberg

Delft: The Old Signs Of The Potters

Majolica And Luca Della Robia
Castel Durante
Naples, Rimini, Monte Feltro, And Forli
Siena, Monte Lupo, And Pisa
Fabriano, Viterbo, Rome
Venice, Treviso, Bassano, Milan, Etc.

Persia And Damascus
Persian And Other Tiles
Rhodes, Asiatic Turkey, Etc.

Hispano-Moresque Ware

Delft - The Old Signs Of The Potters

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

To two Frenchmen, MM. Jacquemart and Havard, we owe most of the knowledge we have with regard to the artists of Delft who made the reputation of its faience, and with regard to the marks of the owners of the factories which are often found upon it, as well as the signs of those factories whose initials, in Dutch, are also found as marks: thus MP, joined in a monogram, is the sign of the " Metal Pot," founded in 1631 by P. J. Van Kessel, who was succeeded in 1655 by J. P. Van Kessel. In 1678 Lambertus Clefiius found the secret of imitating the Indian porcelain. Oriental porcelain was evidently intended, for the trade with Japan was carried on as a monopoly, and Dutch vessels brought from Decima, Japanese goods to the Dutch East India Company's warehouses at Delft. But Albrecht Cornelis de Keyser, 1642, was the first to copy the eastern style of designs, where the blue and the red dominated upon chrysanthemums with butterflies and insects. He founded in 1668 the factory at the sign of the "Three Porcelain Bottles." Returning to the " Metal Pot," which was sold to L. V. Eenhoorn in z6gz, when Cleffius died, we note that in 1764 the proprietor was Pieter Paree, who used the mark MP.

" The Greek A " (de Griekse A) was established more than a century before the register of potters' marks was deposited at St. Luc's Guildhall in 1764. G. L. Kruyk was its founder, who used his initials as his mark. His successors adopted the same plan: S. Van Eenhoorn in 1674, A. Kocks in 1687, J. Van der Heal in yoi, Jan T. Dextra in 1759, and Jacobus Halder 1764.. The two last sometimes placed above their initials the Greek letter Alpha. At this factory magnificent ware was produced, with decoration almost perfect as an imitation of the Oriental, though the Meissen porcelain was also successfully copied in polychrome painting and gilding. Some of the best specimens-dishes, tureens, fountains, etc.are marked DEX and Z.DEX. The last letters indicate Zechariah Dextra, one of the ablest painters in his brother's factory. Above certain of the names which follow, a short stroke or hyphen shows what letters form the initials.

" The Old Moor's Head " (T'Oude Moriaans hoJt) was a factory which had an artist for its founder and a turbaned head as its mark. Abram de Kooge, 1632, painted in oils, but he became famous for his excellent plaques, on which he depicted landscapes of unusual beauty and of surpassing merit, It was in 1648 that he entered into possession of this pottery, and those who followed him-R. J. Hoppe-stein (R.J.H.S.), 1680, A. Kruisweg, 1740, and G. Ver'stelle, y64occasionally placed the Moor's head above their initials. The later works, signed GVS, are decorated with Watteau subjects surrounded with arabesques.

Another of the oldest signs was " The Double Bottle " (de dubbelde Schenkkan), of which the factory mark was DSK. Founded in 1648 by S. P. V. Berenvelt, it became successively the property of A. Van Kessel, 1675, Louis Fictor 1689, and H. de Koning, 1721. The beautiful jugs and vases, of varied forms, were often ribbed and richly painted with Oriental designs, in which Louis Fictor had no superior. Specimens bearing his monogram have considerable value. In 1764 T. Spaandonck was the proprietor using the factory mark.

" The Peacock " (de Paauw). The word j5aauw, also in capitals in a sort of monogram, was a mark of this factory, which was founded by C. J. Meschert in 1651, and produced fine faience decorated with red, after Oriental designs, and with aubergine as the most usual colour on bouquets and flowers. The decorators' names are rarely added to the factory mark, though the word Paauzv is associated now and then with the " Porcelain Hatchet," which was apparently counterfeited.

The factory with the sign of " The Hart " (T'Hart) originated in the seventeenth century, being established by Joris Mesch in 1661. Much of the painting was in blue, and the later pieces are decorated with landscapes ; open-work baskets with fine flower-painting are not uncommon, nor covered vessels modelled after vegetable forms. Sometimes the covers support two entwined fishes. The mark, the initials of successive owners-M. V. Boegart, 1734, and H. V. Middeldyk, 1764 (H.V.M.D.)-was varied by employing the name of the pottery.

The mark of the pottery named " The Claw " (de Klaauw) is meant to indicate the claw of a bird. A facsimile of this mark is given. It was taken from a helmet-shaped jug or buire with Oriental decoration of flowering plants, in blue, and of a frise of blue flowers, with reserves in white, containing sacred objects and sprays of flowers, in blue. The productions of this factory from its foundation by C. Van der Hoeve, in 1662, were mainly painted in blue. Its continuity was maintained by the Schoenhoves from 1664 to 1705. Then P. Oosterwick took charge until 1740, his successor being K. Van Dyk. The claw mark is found with a figure or with initials, such as L.S, which mark the registering of L. Sanderus as owner in 1764. Both are seen together on pieces of good quality.

At the sign of "The Golden Boat " (de vergulde Boot), which factory belonged at first to H. Groothuysen in 1667, life passed with a quietness which left nothing to tell of the ware, though the names of the owners who came after him are recorded: D. Van der Rest, 1698, and J, den Appel, 1759. DVK boot was Kest's mark; JDA, Appel's.

"The Three Porcelain Bottles " (de dries porseleyne Fleschjes) are a set of three gourd-shaped vases which indicated the pottery of Albrecht de Keiser in 1668. His wellknown monogram AK is a mark upon many of the most famous examples of Old Delft decorated in the Oriental style. His son, Cornelis de Keiser, and his two sons-in-law, Jacob and Adrian Pynaker, took over the business in 1680 and adopted a mark containing all of their initials, though K in C is the special mark of Cornelis, and APK of the brothers Pynaker. The last mark was continued by Adrian when he carried on the business alone in 1690. These successors of Albrecht fully maintained the superior character of the faience of this factory : rich decorative ornament in polychrome, heightened with gold, included godroons and vertical bands, in blue, and gold, enclosing medallions in which were painted, in colours and gold, the flowering plants and birds we know so well. These formed the borders which surrounded the chief subject, also a familiar one: a young woman holding a flower, leaning on a balustrade, looking at a child who is dancing. The same subject is repeated on the other side of vases and buires, being, of course, single on dishes and plates. Other subjects besides Japanese were treated with an equally brilliant result, in which the blue, red, and gold were pre-eminent. On the register of 1764, Hugo Brouwer appears as the owner of the works, with his mark HB in a monogram.

In 1671 the sign of " The Three Bells " (de drie Klokken) was deposited by Simon Mesch, of whom little is known, nor are the successive owners of the works recorded until W. Van der Does is registered in 1764. His mark was WD. Three bells appear to have been the factory mark usually employed, and they are more or less carelessly drawn upon pieces of common ware with relief ornament and painted in crude colours.

During the same year, 1671, another factory, " The Roman " (de Romeyn), was opened by M. Gouda. Here factory marks of pseudo-Japanese characters were used-not always, how ever, because some of the owners had other marks. Reinier Hey, 1696, who signed " Reinier," was a talented painter of shipping. The next marks appear after the middle of the eighteenth century: P. Van Marum, 1759, J. Van der Kloot, 1764, using a monogram of the whole of their initials.

" The Three Porcelain Barrels " (de dyie Porseleyne Astonrr-era) was founded in 1674 by G. P. Kam, who signed G.K. There were five members of this family whose paintings, in blue, of Oriental subjects, were very fine. Some specimens of the ware have the factory mark, astonne. When, in 1720, Z. Dextra assumed control of the pottery, imitations of Dresden decoration were produced, leading to polychrome colours and gilding, in the use of which he was a master. His abbreviated name, Z. DEX, is found on ware previously described when dealing with his brother Jan Theumis Dextra. On the register of 1764 Hugo Brouwer inscribed his mark, H.B in a monogram.

A single R, a conventional rose, or one of more natural form, are the early marks of the factory whose sign was " The Rose " (de Roos), founded by Arendt Cosijn in 1675. Many objects were made here and decorated in blue and in polychrome with gilding. Vases of flowers, with figures of Oriental origin, were painted in medallions which often were framed in relief. Blue and a pale yellow distinguish the earlier works, and heavy plates with Dutch subjects painted upon a blue-tinted white enamel are not uncommon. D. Van der Does, 1759, registered the six-petalled rose and the initials of his names as a mark in 1764, but, on occasion, the script D was placed alone over the flower.

Next came a notable factory whose faience is very varied and well known. Many of the plates, blue-painted with portraits, and inscriptions such as Willem de V. 1760, were made at the sign of " The Porcelain Hatchet " (de porcelein Bijl), which Hubrecht Brouwer established in 1679. Though J. Van Oorenburg, 1697, used his initials as a mark now and then, and J. Brouwer, 1759, and Hugo Brouwer, 1776, did the same, yet the hatchet mark, a simple outline, distinguishes most of the admirable blue-painted faience copied from porcelain. The mark, too, is found on the heavier, coarser ware for everyday use with simpler decoration. Amongst the subjects painted in blue mention must be made of the sea-scenes, the fisheries of whale and herring, and views of the daily life of the workers. Justus Brouwer, in 1764, registered the mark, which, as in other cases, was in use a long time before the registration was made compulsory by the Guild of St. Luc.

In 1680 Jacob Pynaker started another factory with the sign of " The Porcelain Bottle " (de poyceleyne Fles). Apparently he left his brother and C. de Keizer at " The Three Porcelain Bottles " shortly after the partnership was formed, and carried out in his own pottery imitations of Oriental porcelain similar to theirs. We know that he was equally gifted, though it is uncertain whether he used his initials as a mark, as his successors-J. Knotter, 1698, and P. Van Doorne, 1759-did.

The factory sign " The White Star " (de witte Ster), though deposited at the Guild by A. Kiell in 1764, a year after he took charge of the works, appears to have been adopted by T. Witsenburg when he founded them in 1690. C. de Berg used his initials over a six-sided star as his mark, whilst Jan Aalmes sometimes wrote his name, from 1731 to 1759, on his wares. In the latter year J. de Berg succeeded to the factory and adopted LB. with a star. The J in Dutch is usually I in form; perhaps the dot over the I would be sufficient indication of this were it constantly used. The letters LB in a monogram mark a plate decorated in blue in the Chinese style with a large flower amongst flowering branches and flowerets. On the border, which is festooned, are flowers and slight leaves which surround a band of ornament reaching downwards to the central decoration, having small panels, each containing a sprig of flowers. The productions of this pottery show great variations in the styles copied. Chinese and Japanese designs vied with those of Rouen, but, though many inferior pieces are marked with a star, being forgeries, the best faience made here deserves the esteem with which it is regarded. Which of the de Bergs used DB in a monogram is uncertain; even A.K joined may be A. Kocks and not A. Kiell, yet the separate letters A K with a star no doubt belonged to this factory.

The house sign of " The Fortune " (T'Fortuin) painted on tiles supplied many curious details of this porselein bachery, as it was termed. Below a draped figure of the goddess is an inscription In t Fortuin, with the date Asano z6gz, when the factory was founded by L. Van Dale. On the left is a woman moving with her legs the wheel on which she throws or spins a vase, on the right is a man painting a large dish. Surrounding Fortune is an elaborate scrollwork where flowers and foliage, vases, etc., support coats-of-arms of the United Provinces and of Delft, separated at the apex by the monogram of the proprietor. LH.F, differently written, is accepted as the factory mark, though Fortuijn seems more common, and the Van der Briel family-Paul in 1740, and Pieter laterused PVDB in a monogram, whilst in 1764 WVDB shows the registered mark of the widow of Pieter.

The word Blompot indicates the sign " The Golden Flower Pot " (de veygulde Blompot), which was adopted by P. Van der Strom when he commenced this pottery in 1693. The initials of M. Van Bogaert, 1757, and P. Verburg, 1764, occur as marks on good ware which needs no special mention. About 1700 another ordinary factory, " The Porcelain Dish " (de porceleyne Schookl), opened by an unknown potter, passed into the keeping of J. Pennis in 1725, who signed his faience with J.P, in a monogram, whilst the name registered in 1764 was that used as a mark, V Duijn joined together, for J. Van Duijn. Only one mark has been assigned to " The Two Savages " (de twee Ws-ldemans). That occurs on the list of 1764, and was deposited by the widow of Willem Van Beek, 1758. It consisted of her husband's initials, W:V:B. The factory was in operation much earlier in the century. Before mentioning some other features of Delft ware, three more potteries must be noted: "The Young Moor's Head" (T'jongue Moriaans hoft), with the mark IVH for Jan Verhagen, 1728; " The Two Ships " (de twee Scheepjes), with the initials AP for Anthony Pennis, 1759; and " The Ewer " (de Lampetkan), which had as marks various contractions of lampetkan-1 pet kan, 1 1 kan, 1 p k, etc. With the last of these factories, which was also the last of the famous ones to be opened, its date being 1756, the names of G. Brouwer, its founder, and A. Van der Keel, 1780, are associated, whose marks were GB and A V d Keel.

Pages of marks upon wares closely resembling those of Delft are given in Jacquemart's list and others; many fine pieces, all unknown as to origin, are described as delicately painted, or as having a remarkable enamel, or again, as magnificent faience. Havard's investigations have removed from that list several, such as the J.K in a monogram, which he gives to Jacobus Knofter, and the LF, which look like VE when joined, which are appropriated by L. Fictor. Thousands of unknown marks are found upon the ceramic productions of Europe. German and French faience have their full share, although the number is being reduced by the devoted services of the enthusiasts, for M. Havard, one of them, has ably followed in Jacquernart's footsteps to a point where he took a new path, in which he found Jan Baan and Samuel Van Eenhoorn, in addition to others mentioned, whose remarkable work puzzled his master. He discovered the key-the name of the men in the list whose initials correspond and whose works agree.

Of the many excellent artists who decorated delft, Augustijn, Reygen, Albrecht de Keiser, Jan Kulick, and Pieter Poulisse, the manager of Adrian Pynakcr's works, were, perhaps, the most eminent for their wonderful gold and red wares, though the brothers Van Eenhoorn, W. and S. and L.; the brothers Dextra, Z. and J. ; and P. Vizeer, were scarcely inferior as painters in polychrome. Of the decorators in blue it is difficult to say much-they were so many-who covered the vases, dishes, and plates with all kinds of Oriental designs, which became modified, in course of time, with landscapes and seascapes, with figure and other subjects. Frytom's plaques, with fine landscapes, and Albrecht de Keiser's vases, may stand as representative of the best blue decoration; they set a standard which several others reach. Arij, or Ary de Milde, imitated Bottcher's red ware, formerly called the red porcelain of Dresden, but his was soft faience, very fine and reddish. L. Van Eenhoorn was one of those whose productions included similar ware with a stamped mark of a unicorn; M.G. was another, whose red tea-pots were, at the general request of the magistrates, in 1680, marked in an oval with pseudo-Japanese characters, amongst which one can trace EY and a figure 3.

Similar ware was made in England by the brothers Elers of Bradwell Wood. It was to England that the Delft potter Jan Ariens Van Hamme(n) came, when on April 23, 1671, he took out a patent for the " art of makeinge tiles, and porcelane, and other earthenwares, after the way practised in Holland." We do not know whether he really did start delft potteries at Lambeth, but he, in 1661, ten years before he got his patent, was established in his pottery at Delft. When William III. was settled on the English throne we may be certain that his Dutch subjects fully enjoyed the opportunities afforded by the incursions of their fellowcountrymen in his train, and exported their wares to this country at a period which marked the greatest prosperity of Delft. The number of f abyiques in existence then was about thirty, at which nearly two thousand persons were employed. No factories appear to have survived muchaater than 1813. The demand for old Delft faience by collectors in modern days has produced an unusual number of forgeries, with the marks and characteristic style. For this reason those who purchase expensive specimens, and cannot rely upon their own knowledge entirely, would be well advised to consult an expert, paying him his fee, or, failing this, to secure that written guarantee which any reputable dealer will not hesitate to give.

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