Anytime I come upon something like this display of 18th century ceramics in the Rijkmuseum my first reaction is something like "wow"; my second is "I wish Ron were here!" As much as much as I did get a good deal of enjoyment from seeing the "limited" pieces on exhibit from the collection I know I would have have gain so much more with him beside me. Ron is a recognized authority on Chinese Export porcelain and in demand for his talents as a speaker on ceramics in general and the booming trade between the various "East India" companies and China during the 18th and 19th century in particular. And he's one of those lecturers who makes things come to life, the best sort of lecturer there is. One of the first things I did when I got back to the apartment in Amsterdam was to send him a copy of this photo. It would have been more fun to share it and the other wonders on display with him in person
More often than not the painters who worked in Delft - like the creators of the two previous pieces - were unknown however Frederik van Frijtom was a free-lance painter who style was immediately recognizable. He would often sign special pieces and his unique style make even unsigned works recognizable as his. Unlike many of his fellows who painted over the glaze Frijtom did not use the sponge technique which depended on stencils for the initial design. He hand painted scenes of his own creation on the base layer before the glazing was done.
And he painted on the white ground using a unique style - he set out his design with thin contour lines using various shades of blue. He then filled them in and built them up with thousands and thousands of tiny dots. By varying the intensity of the blue he was able to add dimension and depth to his landscapes that were often lacking in that of his contemporaries. His wall plaques were popular with the merchants (and their wives) throughout the Netherlands. This large plaque (62cm x 105cm - 2'x3.5") is a stunning example of the work Frijtom was known for and is a good indication of why he, unlike so many, was not to remain anonymous.
In the late 16th and 17th centuries a craze for tulips engulfed much of Europe and led to, as difficult as it may be to believe, a financial crises in Holland. The tulip made its initial appearance from Turkey around 1593 and Holland was the main
tall tulipieres (though created sometime after the crash had wreaked it financial havoc) would have displayed 36 individual blooms each. As beautiful as these may have been gracing the entrance hall of a good burger's home, investors of the time learned the hard lesson that it is better to stop and smell a flower than stake your fortune on one.
The Dutch East India Company had a lucrative trade with the Chinese and imported millions of pieces of Chinese porcelain in the 17th century. These pieces became popular for their workmanship and detail but were available only to the very wealthy. At first the ceramic studios in Delft did little other than admire the imported items however when trading abruptly halt in 1620 with the end of the Ming Dynasty they began to make copies of Chinese pieces and adapt Chinese designs.
The bottom piece is from the de Ross factory founded by Arendt Cosijn in 1675 and dates from the period of the 1705-1720. It is attributed to Dammas Hofdijck who also created that intriguing flask I posted about last week. Though the dish gives the appearance of having been made in China the painting is fuller and the surface more lustrous than the Chinese original. The painter used a wider palette of colours including red and black, which given the techniques of the time were difficult to fire.
08 July - 1822: Chippewas turn over a huge tract of land in Ontario to the United Kingdom.