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Paintings created during the Dutch “Golden Age,” essentially the era from 1581 to 1672, are magnificent in their clarity, quality of light and degree of detail.

Breathtaking depictions of landscapes with animals in the foreground were a distinct sub-type during this period and were painted by a number of Dutch artists including Albert Cuyp, Paulus Potter, Adriaen van de Velde, Karel Dujardin and Philips Wouwerrman.

While depictions of animals such as horses, livestock, dogs, and birds adorned the walls of Dutch households, these popular subjects can also be found on hand crafted and hand painted Delft tiles, and for good reason.

Beloved and Symbolic Animals

The cow, for example, was a symbol of prosperity to the Dutch and, apart from the horse, is by far the most commonly shown animal.

Dutch painters interest in livestock and their focus on cattle reflected Dutch pride in their milk industry. Over time, paintings and hand crafted and hand painted Delft earthenware portraying cows not only reflected the 17th-century social and economic conditions, but also expressed the nation’s patriotic feelings.

Although not as popular as livestock, dogs also appeared frequently on 17th-century Dutch art. Spaniels, Whippets and Greyhounds, as well as less-familiar breeds, can be seen playing, feeding and sleeping, as captured by painters such as Paulus Potter. Small Spaniels kept by the lady of the house are often shown, while men and boys are regularly portrayed with a hunting dog such as a Greyhound or a larger Spaniel.

In England, paintings of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel became very popular in the 17th century, a trend that quickly reached the Netherlands. The subject’s frequent appearance in paintings and on hand crafted and hand painted Delft tiles suggests its widespread popularity at the time.

The 17th-century Dutch were fond of metaphors, symbolism and preaching morals. Portraits of children often featured pet dogs, not only because the dog may have been the child’s favorite companion, but also because people considered the training of dogs to be a good metaphor for raising and educating children. In adult portraits, hunting dogs are believed to refer to the owner’s wealth and aristocratic status.

A Passion for Parrots

Equally prominent in works of art during the Dutch Golden Age were birds, and more specifically, parrots. The newly independent Dutch Republic established a vast and profitable trade network in the 17th century and the parrot was among the most coveted of the luxury imports. Exotic, beautiful and rare, these amazing animals were highly valued companions. The interaction between parrots and people gave Dutch genre painters such as Caspar Netscher an unprecedented opportunity for creativity and candor.

Delft Tiles—The Perfect Place for Hand Crafted and Hand Painted Delft Blue Tiles Featuring Animals

Whether you are looking for antique animal-themed Delft tiles or custom depictions of your favorite pets, Delft Tiles serves as your trusted resource. Choose from a vast range of authentic, handmade and hand painted Dutch Delft tiles. With a including Classic Field Tiles, Nautical Tiles, Bespoke Tiles and Animal-Themed Tiles, just to name a few. Our tile experts are here to help.

To learn more about our hand crafted and hand painted animal-themed Delft tiles, or to place an order, please visit our or contact us at:

Tel: +31 (0) 6 1600 5000 or +31 (0) 6 1600 3366
USA: 011 31 6 1600 5000 or 011 31 6 1600 3366

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