DELFT BLUE FLORAL TILES: BEAUTIFUL THEN, BEAUTIFUL NOW
The history of floral design dates back thousands of years, when ancient Egyptians used flowers for personal adornment, gifts, and for decorations and offerings during festivals and religious ceremonies.
It was during 12th century China that fabrics exquisitely embroidered with flowers and scenes of nature were used in clothing. This trend quickly swept through many other Middle Eastern and Asian countries. By the end of the century, Japan was also using intricate floral embroidery on kimonos.
During the 16th century, artisans in the Netherlands began creating a distinctive style of hand crafted and hand painted, tin-glazed pottery that employed vivid shades of blue in order to depict floral motifs, natural landscapes and historical or biblical iconography. This would be a hint of beautiful things to come.
Endless Possibilities with Hand Crafted Design
Initially, Delft tiles imitated the intricate designs of Chinese porcelain. But this soon gave way to the integration of hand painted Dutch imagery and scenes. Designs included everything from tulips, animals, windmills, boats, farmers and fishermen to dramatic biblical stories and mythological gods. Almost anything could be painted on Delft tiles, and given their small, flat, individual nature, they offered an originality not found in other tile traditions.
Artisan Delftware and Blooms—A Natural Fit
At the height of the Dutch Golden Age in the early 1600s, when The Netherlands became the largest importers of new and exotic plants and flowers from around the world, floral still life paintings would represent a means of decoding how people saw their world. During this time, when “tulipmania” was in full bloom across Dutch culture, and the highly valued flower became a source of national pride, potters in Delft were crafting the earthenware product that ultimately evolved into “Delftware.” It was only a matter of time before stunning, hand painted imagery of tulips and other floral patterns would appear on hand crafted Delft Blue tiles—inspired by floral still life painters such as Rachel Ruysch, Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, Balthasar van der Ast, Jacob Vosmaer, Hans Bollongier and Jan Davidsz. de Heem.
These artists often referred to herbals and other botanical texts when composing floral “bouquets,” which typically combined flowers from different countries and even different continents in one vase and at one moment of blooming. Once valued primarily for their use in medicinal herbs, flowers became appreciated simply for their beauty and fragrance, as well as status symbols for the upper class, as depicted in the artists’ lavish floral paintings. While other Delftware designs—such as windmills, boats, soldiers, farmers and fishermen—were in high demand at the time, hand crafted and hand painted Delft Blue floral tiles and floral panels were, and perhaps still are, the most popular.
A World of Magnificent Floral Tiles in One Convenient Place—Delft Tiles
Why not give yourself the gift of flowers in the design of your home? Delft Tiles offers an extensive range of hand crafted and hand painted Delft tiles that feature the natural allure and charm of floral designs. Whether you are looking to add a touch of beauty to your kitchen, bathroom, hallways, bedroom or fireplace, or have a special space where you would like to create a stunning floral tile mural, our Delft Blue tile experts can help you discover the perfect flower designs to fit. Our also includes classic Field Tiles, Delft Blue Tiles & Panels, Custom & Special Tiles, and Antique Delft Tiles.
To learn more about hand crafted and hand painted floral Delft Tiles, or to place an order, please visit our or contact us at:
Museums in The Netherlands featuring hand painted Delft Blue pottery and tiles:
Museums abroad featuring hand painted Delft Blue tiles: