Delft faïence is among the greatest Dutch achievements of the 17th and 18th centuries. Over the last hundred and fifty years a great many private individuals and museums, in the Netherlands and beyond, have amassed collections of Delftware. It is almost self-evident that the most important collection of this ‘National Product’ should be in the Netherlands, particularly in the Rijksmuseum, the Municipal Museum in The Hague and in many other places.
Was around 1850 the interest in Delftware effectively vanished in The Netherlands, the exhibition organised in Delft in 1863 attracteda great deal of attention and this, coupled with a growing interest in the past, opened the eyes of a new group of buyers.
Since then Delftware has been widely collected and the subject of serious study.
The Republic of the United Provinces, as the Netherlands was officially known, was unquestionably a phenomenon amidst all the monarchies in Europe.
Not only because it was a state without a king, but also because in the second half of the seventeenth century the Netherlands was an economic and political force to be reckon with.
A small country but a major power.
Thank to the amassed wealth and economic advantage that the Netherlands had over the other countries of Europe, the average per capita income was to remain the highest in Europe for a very lond time to come.
The difference between rich and poor was also much smaller in The Netherlands than it was elsewhere. In consequence there was a very large well to do middle-class that could afford all sorts of luxuries, a unique phenomenon in Europe. Sets of dishes decorated with a loving couple accompanied by the figure of Cupid, must have been very popular as an element of interior decorating in the 1650s.
A set like this would have been displayed at the top of a high wainscot or on a the shelf at the end of a graet oak bed.
The saggers in which the pieces were fired varied in size; the largest was about fifty centimetres in diameter, which is why dishes and plates made in delft are sendom more than forty-eight centimetres across.
Among the exceptional pieces dating from around 1650-1660, is a massive charger, decorated with a couple, a cupid and a monkey eating an apple. It symbolize the sense of taste.
This would lead us to suppose that dishes like this one were probably sold in sets of five.
This large dish is an exception and was consequently not fired in a standard saggar.
This dish shows at the back, written in black ink, and inscription: C.E. Jedelo, a gold- and siversmith at the Wijnhaven in Delft, and also dealt in antiques. Het participated inter alia in the Exhibition of Antiques and Curiosities of the Province of South Holland , held in Delft in 1863.
This was a landmark exibition in the Netherlands at the time.. No less than four thousand pieces were on display.