skip to content
text image Craig's Cow Creamers


Delft

From the website of De Delftse Pauw, http://www.delftsepauw.com/, we learn that :

“In the sixteenth century, in a number of Dutch towns, factories were established which among their items produced "Majolica". This "Majolica" was made with a tin-glaze and found its origins in Italy and Spain. The Dutch East Indian Company began importing porcelain from China in the seventeenth century. This porcelain, especially the blue and white became very popular. “The "Majolica" producing factories started at a certain moment to imitate this Chinese porcelain, because of several reasons. The imported Chinese porcelain meant competition. Civil war in China made that imports from China went down. Customers asked for specific items which due to distance took a long time to deliver and due to language problems the delivered item was not always what was ordered. In Delft, in the seventeenth century 32 factories were producing Delftware. One of them was a factory called "de Paauw". These factories were often established in beerbreweries which had stopped their production. In the nineteenth century due to competition from other factories like Wedgewood in England and lack of innovations, the highlight of Delftware had come to a close. Nowadays in Delft only a few companies still produce the entirely handpainted traditional Delftware. One of these companies is "de Delftse Pauw". A company which is very loyal to this tradition.”

The Delft City website (www.delft.nl) features a number of factories that produce the famous pottery; for example the Royal Delft factory, Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles, dating from 1653, claims to be the only one that has remained operational in the city since the 17c.  Their Royal Delft web site shows colorations that range from the traditional blue to polychrome, pinjacker (red, blue and gold decorations, based on Japanese Imari), and black.

My collection includes a few older ones, and a small herd of the modern, mass-produced (if hand painted!) versions, many of which my wife and I bought in Delft when we visited there in the late ‘90s.  This was another trip where we ended up having to buy an extra suitcase…The range of variation is depicted here.

 

cwcowcow1

These two lovely Delft creamers, one blue and white and the other polychrome, are by different artists using Mold 795  of the Oud Delft Company, which - from www.sephari.com – we learn was founded by Roelof Elshout in 1920, as an offshoot of the Potterie Rembrandt in Nijmegen.  The factory passed to his brother Hugo, then to Hugo’s daughter Cora in 1988.  In 1996 the company was incorporated into Aardwerkfabirek’t  Delftshce Huys B.V., and moved to Waddinxveen where it still manufactures earthenware products.  I don’t know the age of these creamers, but they certainly date from before 1968 when the company switched from the hand-painted mark (a stylized potters wheel) to a printed version.  Oud Delft is noted for using an opaque white glaze with no tin or lead oxide, to mimic a tin-glazed look, over the white biscuit of modern Delftware.

Here is another Oud Delft creamer from the same ‘795’ mold, this one clearly marked for manufacture in May 1963. I’d like to know if they have made cow creamers from different molds, but have been unable to locate contact information for the company or its successor.

This creamer is quite similar to the two from Oud Delft.  It is certainly from a very similar mold, but has a different, duller glaze(probably tin), and a much rougher texture to the ceramic.  The base bears the initials AL, but the maker’s mark is missing and appears from scratch marks to have been scraped or chipped off.  Why someone would deliberately obliterate it I don’t know…perhaps it was considered a ‘second’ and the maker wanted to make sure it didn’t carry their mark?  If so, it isn’t clear to me what the problem may have been.  The seller, from the UK, marketed it as Faience, probably Angouleme, @19c; since she sells mostly Faience, and that term basically means tin-glazed earthenware, she could well be correct.  I have included it here however because of its close resemblance to the two that are definitely Delft.  Might it be that Oud, a fairly modern company, borrowed or copied an earlier mold? 

This is a lovely blue and white Dutch example from the late 19c.  I believe, from what the seller said, that the marks attribute this creamer to the Gebr. (brothers) Tichelaar factory, circa 1880-1895; currently named Tichelaars Koninklijke Makkumer Aardewerk-en Tegelfabriek (Royal Tichelaar Makkum).  This supposedly was the first mark that they used.  They have a neat website with an English version (start at http://www.tichelaar.nl/shop/ceramics.php) , from which I learned that “On a Spanish map from 1572, today’s location of Royal Tichelaar Makkum’s factory is already marked ‘bricaria’: a brickyard. It is the oldest proof of the company’s more than four centuries of uninterrupted ceramic history. By 1670, domestic pottery had replaced bricks as core business and from 1890 Royal Tichelaar Makkum concentrated on ornamental earthenware. The family company owes its continuity up to the present day to its appreciation of tradition, though with an eager eye for innovation.”  They do have some cows on their web site shop, but none that are creamers…and given the current prices for the new ones, the amount I paid for this old beauty makes it a great bargain.

Here are a couple nice modern versions, from different factories but both marked for Delft and handpainted

Here are two more examples of “Delftware”, with different shapes and coloration. Just as the Delft potters mimicked the Chinese coloration when it became popular in the 17c, so many other factories -- e.g., in Germany, Japan and China -- have mimicked Delftware. The creamer on the left in this picture, although not marked, is porcelain and has tiny pointy teats, and is almost certainly an older German creamer; the one on the right is signed for W.H.Sechler, about whom I can find no information.

This is an interesting German pair – German for sure because it’s incised on the right flank of the larger one, along with a mold mark; the smaller has just a mold mark. These have the decoration on only one side, and I haven’t seen the ‘birds’ on any others.

cow5cow4cow3


Here are a whole bunch of modern ones, mass produced for the tourist trade; again, we got many of them actually in the city, both at the factories and at tourist shops downtown.   They come in a wide variety of shapes.

My wife and I acquired the very large (10” tall) pitcher shown in the left photo above when we visited Delft in 1997.  Some 5 years later I got the larger of the two pitchers shown here, which is from the same mold but with different decoration, and marked for the “Biltmore Estate Collection, Genuine Delft”.  George Vanderbilt, grandson of Cornelius, visited Ashville NC in 1888, found it ideal for his ‘country home’, and built the 250 room Biltmore House (‘French Renaissance Chateau’) there between 1889 and 1895.  These days the house and huge estate are a major tourist destination that in addition to just letting folks gawk at the grounds and house has a luxury hotel, inn, and cottage, and peddles wine, ‘professional development’ and equestrian activity…in addition to geegaws like this Delft cow.  Its smaller neighbor (a mere 7 ½” tall) is a more recent acquisition, and is marked “Delft ©Deco, Handpainted Holland”, under a sketch of windmill, in an outline that looks to me sort of like a snowman. I do have another Delft-ish creamer similarly marked, so perhaps it really is from Holland.

Four more modern ones, showing some of the variations in decoration. The colored one is actually a bit of a cheat…it’s marked on the bottom “Delft Poly Holland USA” and came from an eBay seller in Holland, Michigan.

This is another Holland, Michigan ‘Delft’ creamer, same mold as the one above – but at least it has traveled a bit, coming to me from California.

As opposed to the American knock-off above, this tourist-trade modern colored creamer at least proclaims itself to be truly Delft – the belly reads “5685, Delfts polychrome, hand painted Holland” and it sports the artist’s mark.

Here is another colored version, similarly marked.

And here’s a modern green version – with a bird and flowers instead of the more traditional windmill or boat.   I guess the artists are getting a bit bored doing the same old thing all the time.

This artist from the Regina factory (marked for Tiban-Gouda-Holland) also had quite a bit of fun as well as a vivid imagination – lovely flowers, but…blue ears??

I’m not quite sure what to make of this little guy – rather crude heavy ceramic, with a belly-stamp and a silver sticker on the back of its head that read Holland, hand painted, Delfts Blue with a windmill in the background…and also on the sticker and a silver tag, “Origineel Bo-kado”. Can’;t find them on the web…and since none of the terms are copyrighted, it’s as likely Chinese as Dutch. If the good Bo-kado folks are indeed in the Netherlands perhaps they can correct me.

Two more modern ‘tourist’ versions, both from Holland but from different factories, shown with their marks

Yet another two, both claiming to be hand painted and made in Holland. I guess I should be pleased that at least one European country still continues to produce cow creamers for touristic souvenirs.  I do have a few Swiss ones, but almost all the other ‘new’ cow creamers seen to come from Asia these days.

This is a lovely porcelain creamer, obviously a souvenir from Holland. On the belly it has “Delft” in script, but also a stamp that says “Made in ...”; the last word is obscured, but I’m willing to bet it reads “Germany”, given the cow’s shape and quality.

Here’s another porcelain one from the same mold, with a very similar scene on the right, and more sailboats rather than ‘Holland’ on the left.

This one is painted in the traditional fashion, but is from a mold that I hadn’t seen before.  It is unmarked, thus very likely not from Holland.

cow1cow2


Here are yet more fairly modern creamers with dutch scenery designs...windmills and farm houses.  These are porcelain and most of them are marked for Germany so I really shouldn't call them 'Delft'. I guess my only excuse is that they look nice on the same shelf with the other blue and white ones...and of course they are frequently sold as Delft.

This fairly large and stout cow is marked “Delf” in script on its belly.  It’s well molded porcelain, almost certainly of German origin and early 20c.

Here’s another lovely, realistic porcelain creamer in Delft style with a faint script ‘Delft’ on the belly.  Again, I assume German-made.

More well-molded German porcelain creamers with Dutch motifs.  These apparently were very popular in their day – presumably early 20c - since many are still available. They come in a variety of sizes.

This one doesn’t even pretend to be from Holland, albeit it does have the Delft-like motif … it’s clearly marked Japan on the bottom. It’s included largely as a reminder to folks (including myself) who may think they have a piece of Delftware, that that term is not restricted to use by potteries from the area, and many if not most ceramic figures that ‘look’ delft are from Japan or China.