A STOP IN THE TOWN OF DELFT TO VISIT ITS FAMOUS ROYAL DELFT FACTORY:
Mention Delft and the iconic Delft Blue pottery immediately springs to mind. Delft was a stop on our tour of Belgium and the Netherlands and I was particularly pleased that we were finally visiting this town that is famous the world over for its blue and white pottery. In the 17th century, there were some 32 pottery factories in operation in Delft but today only the Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles (Royal Delft) has withstood the test of time and is the only remaining earthenware factory from that period.
A Royal Delft Experience
On arrival at the factory, we were given a blue carpet welcome and our guided tour of the factory began with a brief history of the Delft Blue pottery, its development and production process. Established in 1653 as the “De Porceleyne Fles”, the Porcelain Jar is still a part of the company’s trademark.
Our walk through the workshop took us to the area where a couple of master painters were at work. The world famous Royal Delftware is still totally hand-painted according to tradition that are centuries-old and as we watched the pure concentration of the master artisans at work and took photos of them, they never flinched
Walls covered with numerous collections of Delft plates show the range of Delft patterns over the ages, mostly of windmills and Dutch flora and fauna. There are also vases, jars, unique-shaped tulip vases as well as commemorative pieces made for the Dutch royal family through the ages.
Interesting Things to See
Our Royal Delft tour took us through a couple of interesting rooms, such as the museum where its exquisite antique Delft pieces are kept in glass casings, a replica of Vermeer’s dining room, and a room which showed Delft ceramic tiles featured in historical buildings.
Shopping at Royal Delft
At the end of the tour we were let loose in the Delft showroom with its huge collection of hand-painted Royal Delft pottery, as well as an extensive range of Dutch earthenware and souvenirs.
It’s easy to get carried away in the showroom and there was a bit of frantic buying by our group as all too soon we had to leave. As a seasoned traveller, I’ve learned to be quite restrained when it comes to buying souvenirs, but at Royal Delft I too succumbed to a little purchase. I treated myself to a Delft tile of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring – after all, how can anyone visit Delft and not come away with at least one piece of Delft Blue work.
Even if you’re not in the market for Delft Blue pottery, for anyone interested in the history of the company and the pottery craft, Royal Delft is well worth a visit. The factory also runs all kinds of short craft courses such as decorative plate painting, Christmas bauble painting, etc.
2628 AR Delft