Marks | Dutch Delftware (2023)

When determining whether something is genuine Delftware, experts look for makers’ symbols or initials, which are often on the base or back of an object. In the video below, curator Femke Diercks shows what to look for when examining a mark.

What does a Delft mark look like?

Delftware may have a mark on the base or back consisting of letters or figurative symbols. These are makers’ marks that indicate where the object was manufactured. The mark will incorporate the name of the pottery Dutch term for a pottery producing lead- and tin-glazed earthenware (majolica and faience). or of the owner or manager, sometimes in full.

Marks can often be found on the base of the object. The index of marks lists all known marks used by Delft potteries in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Does Delftware always have a mark?

If an object does not have a mark, this does not necessarily mean that it is not Delftware, as not all potteries used marks. Only around a third of Delftware has a mark. Furthermore, a mark does not always automatically mean that an object is genuine Delftware, as marks were also sometimes falsified.

Does the mark include the word Delft, Delfts or Delftsch?

‘Delftware’ is not a protected brand name, and it is often used to this day for ceramics with blue-and-white decoration. It is therefore fairly common for objects that are not Delftware – because for example they were not made in Delft, or were made using more modern production techniques rather than the traditional Delftware technique – to be marked with the word 'Delft'.

Is the mark handpainted or made using a stamp?

The next step in examining the mark is to look at how it was applied. Is it handpainted, or stamped? Stamps were not introduced until the late 19th century, which means that the object cannot be antique Delftware. Antique Delftware was made in the late 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries.

Is the mark in itself enough to determine whether something is Delftware?

A mark can give a lot of information about when an object was made, and by whom, but to ascertain for sure whether it is Delftware, you will also need to look at the material and the decoration.

Other characteristics of Delftware

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How do I identify my Delft pottery marks? ›

Delftware may have a mark on the base or back consisting of letters or figurative symbols. These are makers' marks that indicate where the object was manufactured. The mark will incorporate the name of the. pottery or of the owner or manager, sometimes in full.

How can I tell how old my Delft is? ›

Below to the left the painter's initials are painted and on the right a year code. Using the year code list you can find out in which year your Delftware was produced. Over the years, The Porceleyne Fles has carried many trademarks, which changed with every new owner.

What is my Delftware worth? ›

For example, you might expect a vintage Delft plate to fetch a few hundred dollars, and an antique tin-glazed plate is likely to fetch several hundred dollars. In fact, you will find original tin-glazed Delft plates being sold at auction for between $1000 and $5000.

What is the difference between porcelain and Delftware? ›

The difference between porcelain and Dutch delftware can be seen in areas of damage along the rims. On delftware, these reveal a yellow body beneath the white glaze, whereas true porcelain is white all the way through.

How do I identify my pottery mark? ›

There are several ways to find these makers' marks. One way is to look for marks on the bottom of the piece that indicate who the manufacturer is. Another way is to look for a company's name or logo on the piece. Finally, you can consult a reference book that lists manufacturers and their associated marks.

What are the most valuable pottery marks? ›

Rookwood pottery marks, especially the valuable “ROOKWOOD” mark, are highly regarded in the pottery world. These marks, along with other Rookwood pottery marks, provide insights into the year of production and enhance the collectability of Rookwood pieces.

What do the letters mean on bottom of pottery? ›

Ceramic monogram as a mark

Ceramists sometimes also stamp monograms on or under the ceramics. A monogram is usually one letter or two or three letters. These letters are usually the first letters of the ceramist's first name and surname and perhaps the middle name(s).

What are the different types of Delft pottery? ›

Delftware includes pottery objects of all descriptions - such as plates, vases, figurines and other ornamental forms and tiles. The style originated around 1600, and the most highly regarded period of production is about 1640–1740, but Delftware continues to be produced.

What is the difference between Delft and chinoiserie? ›

Dutch Delft is a European art form that depicts symbols of the Netherlands, like windmills, clogs, and vegetation native to that area. Chinoiserie, on the other hand, derives from Asia; this influence is showcased through images of fish, boats, oriental architecture, and flowers.

Is Delft pottery collectable? ›

Delft pottery is still in production today, but it is the maker's antique ceramic wares that truly excite collectors.

Is Delftware still made? ›

Royal Delft has been creating high-quality Delft Blue since 1653. This age-old craft is passed on from generation to generation and iconic masterpieces are still made entirely by hand in Delft.

Why is Delftware blue and white? ›

The choice for blue was also practical; it was the easiest color to fire onto ceramics because cobalt glazes resist high temperatures. There was little room for error in the firing process, therefore the color was a safe choice for many new factories. Changing fashions also contributed to the use of blue in Delftware.

What is so special about Delft? ›

Delft is famous the world over for its blue ceramics aptly called Delft Blue. This particular style was inspired by the arrival of Chinese porcelain, which was imported to Europe by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century.

What is special about Delft? ›

Delft is famous for its ceramic Delft Blue pottery. It is known as the birth place of the famous painter Johannes Vermeer, known from "the girl with the Pearl". And it is known as a charming canal-ringed town with historical monuments and medieval architecture.

How do I know if my porcelain is antique? ›

Examine the shape, color, glaze, and reign mark on the vase. If they all date to the same dynasty or era, the vase is likely authentic. Look for signs of genuine aging like tiny rust spots, glaze contractions, or yellowing crackles. The glaze and paint should be intact.

What is the app that identifies old pottery? ›

What is ArchAIDE? Every day, archaeologists from around the world have to recognise and classify thousands of ceramic fragments. With ArchAIDE, a tablet or a smartphone can be used to take a photo of a ceramic fragment, and to enter basic textual information.

How do I know if my pottery is valuable? ›

The value of art pottery can be determined using criteria like the condition of the piece, its condition, rarity, desirability, authenticity, provenance, and aesthetics. You can use these 6 factors to begin establishing if your pottery is valuable.

How to date Delft tile? ›

As the production process became more advanced and efficient, the tiles became thinner and thinner. Thanks to that, we can use the thickness of the tile as a good indication of its age. A very thick tile is often late 16th century or early 17th century, whether a thinner can be dated around 1650 or 1700.

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