Discovering Delft: Tips to Identify Authentic Pieces

Identifying whether something is Delft or not can be quite a challenge. Delftware, also known as Delft Blue, is a popular Dutch pottery that originated in the city of Delft in the 16th century. Therefore, it is essential to know how to identify the distinguishing marks of Delft so that you can be sure you are looking at the real thing. Here are some things to look out for to determine if something is Delft:
  • Check for the mark: The Delft mark typically appears on the back or base of the pottery item. It can consist of either letters or symbols, which were made by the maker that indicate the place where the item was made. Therefore, checking for the mark is one of the surest ways to identify Delft pottery.
  • Pay attention to the color: Delft pottery is notorious for its blue-and-white color combination. The blue is typically cobalt and can range in variations from dark blue to pale blue. If the item you are looking at does not have the blue-and-white combo, it is most likely not Delftware.
  • Look at the design: Delftware is known for its intricate designs that typically feature tulips, windmills, landscapes, or historical scenes and figures. If the design does not feature any of these, it may not be authentic Delftware.
  • Feel the texture: Delftware is made of ceramic and is usually smooth and cool to the touch. If the texture feels cheap or plastic-like, it is likely not authentic Delftware.
  • Keep in mind that these factors alone do not necessarily confirm an item as Delftware. It is important to do your research and consult with experts to ensure that the item is authentic before making any purchases.

    Identifying Delftware: A Beginner’s Guide

    If you’re a novice collector or enthusiast of Delftware pottery, it can be challenging to identify if an item is, in fact, authentic. Delftware is a blue and white glazed pottery that originated in the Dutch town of Delft in the 16th century. However, over the centuries, countless replicas and imitations have been created, making the authentication process tricky. The following tips will help you identify Delftware like a pro.
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    Firstly, examine the quality of the glaze. Authentic Delftware has a glassy and bright glaze that is smooth to the touch. The blue color of the glaze should be bright and vivid, and it should not have any cracks or bubbles. Additionally, authentic Delftware has an irregular shape and is slightly lopsided, which adds to its charm and character. Secondly, check the design of the piece. Delftware typically features blue designs of windmills, tulips, and Dutch landscapes. The design should be detailed and intricate, but not overly complicated. The blue color should be consistent throughout the design, and there should be no fading or bleeding of the color. Lastly, inspect the markings on the piece. Genuine Delftware will have markings indicating where it was made, and by whom. These markings can be on the back or base of the item, and they will be in a blue color that matches the rest of the design.

    Understanding the Delft Mark: What to Look For

    When examining a piece of Delftware, the markings are a crucial factor in determining authenticity. The Delft mark is a symbol or letter that indicates where the item was manufactured. It can be a combination of letters and symbols, and they typically appear in a blue color that matches the rest of the design. The most common Delft mark is a capital letter D or the word Delft. This mark indicates that the item was made in the Dutch town of Delft. Other symbols that may appear include a sword, a star, a circle, or a tulip. These symbols can indicate the specific factory or workshop where the item was made.
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    Where to Find the Delft Mark on Pottery

    The Delft mark can be located in several places on a piece of pottery. On plates or bowls, it is often found in the center of the item. On vases or figurines, the mark may be on the bottom or base. However, some pieces of Delftware may not have markings at all, making their authentication challenging. It’s also worth noting that the location of the mark may vary depending on the time period in which the item was produced. Items made in the 17th and 18th centuries often had the mark on the back of the item, while 19th-century pieces were commonly marked on the base.

    Deciphering Delft Markings: Letters and Symbols

    The letters and symbols on a Delft mark can reveal a lot about the item’s origin. For example, a sword symbol typically indicated the De Metalen Pot (The Metal Pot) factory, which was founded in 1630. A star symbol might indicate the factory of Pieter Jansz van der Made, who was one of the most significant producers of Delftware in the 17th century. Often, the markings would include the initials of the owner or manager of the factory, as well as the year that the item was made. These markings give collectors and enthusiasts insight into the history of the item and its place in the timeline of Delftware production.

    Reading Between the Lines: What Delft Marks Reveal About Origin

    Delft marks can reveal not just the factory or workshop where the item was made, but also the specific period in which it was created. For example, items made in the 17th century may have a crown symbol, which indicates that the pottery was made for the Dutch royal family.
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    Similarly, items made in the 18th century may have a symbol of a double G, which stands for de Gecroonde (the crowned) factory. The location and design of the Delft mark can reveal a wealth of knowledge about the item’s origin and place in Delftware history.

    Delftware Markings: Maker’s Name vs. Manager or Owner

    As mentioned earlier, some Delftware markings include the initials of the owner or manager of the factory. While this may add to the historical significance of the item, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the item is more valuable than one without initials. Items with the maker’s name included in the markings are generally considered more valuable and desirable to collectors. However, it’s important to note that not all Delftware items were signed by their makers. In many cases, the factory produced anonymous pieces that were sold under the Delft name.

    Spotting Fake Delftware: Clues in the Markings

    Spotting fake Delftware is a crucial skill for collectors and enthusiasts. One of the best ways to spot a fake is to examine the markings closely. Fakes will often have markings that are inconsistent with the time period or place in which the item was supposedly produced. Additionally, fake Delftware markings may be poorly printed or painted. The blue color may be too dark or too light, and the lines may be blurred or smudged. If the markings look too perfect or uniform, it’s likely that the item is a reproduction or fake. In conclusion, identifying authentic Delftware can be a challenging but rewarding pursuit. By examining the quality of the glaze, the design of the item, and the markings, collectors and enthusiasts can gain valuable insight into the history and origin of the pottery. Remember to always be vigilant when examining potential purchases, and trust your instincts when something doesn’t look quite right.

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