UNIQUE, CAPTIVATING, CLASSIC—THE UNMATCHED
ALLURE OF DUTCH DELFT TILES
While you might not be familiar with Delft tiles by name, these highly recognizable “pieces of art” have added a touch of beauty and elegance to homes the world over for centuries.
Originally produced in the small Dutch city of Delft in the early 1600’s, Delft tiles, also known as Delft Blue tiles or “delftware”, are characterized by hand painted blue designs on a white tile base. This style, which often depicts children playing, animals, flowers, farm workers, ships and other scenes of everyday Dutch life, was the creation of Dutch potters in their pursuit to imitate the more desirable blue and white porcelain imported from China.
From Household Protection to Museum-Quality Brilliance
In the beginning, Dutch homes commonly used handmade Delft tiles to protect wooden structures such as chimneypieces and stoves. It was only later that they became popular as decoration. In fact, Dutch kitchens, hallways and stairs often featured delftware with works by old masters from the Golden Age such as Johannes Vermeer, Willem Kalf and Pieter de Hooch.
In addition to the white and blue Delft tiles, tiles with multiple colors were also popular. You can see fine examples of Delft tiles at The Dutch Tile Museum, as well as The Rijksmuseum, which features a collection of approximately 20,000 Delft Blue tiles, special Delft earthenware and paintings of interiors featuring Delft tiles.
Not All Delft Tiles Were Made in Delft
In the 17th century, The Netherlands already had a thriving ceramic industry centered in Delft. However, the terms “Delft Blue” and “Delft” tiles evolved into the collective name for blue and white earthenware, even though it was not necessarily produced in Delft. Eventually, these “Delft Blue” tiles were produced in various places in The Netherlands, including Rotterdam, Gouda, Utrecht, Enkhuizen and in the northernmost region of Friesland in Makkum and Harlingen.
As the production of Delft tiles expanded beyond the city of Delft, the quantity of tiles produced skyrocketed. Historians estimate that no fewer than 800 million Delft tiles were made between the 16th and 18th centuries. This is likely the reason many Delft tiles ended up elsewhere in Europe. They were either made to order as single wall tiles, or joined together to create large tableaus. The National Azulejo Museum of Lisbon, Portugal, displays stunningly beautiful examples of these grand Dutch masterpieces.
Delft Tiles: We’re Your Trusted Resource for Authentic Delft Blue Tiles
Delft Tiles serves as your trusted one-stop destination for a vast range of handmade and hand painted Dutch Delft tiles from Friesland—with a including classic Field Tiles, Delft Blue Tiles & Panels, Custom & Special Tiles, and Antique Delft Tiles. And because we are world-class Delft tile experts, we can also provide you with exceptional consultation service—to help you find the tile solution that’s the perfect fit for your needs.
To learn more about Delft Tiles, or to place an order, please visit our or contact us at:
Additional museums abroad featuring Delft Blue tiles: