The Delft Widow

Once upon a time, a royal heiress named Jacqueline threw some small jugs she made out the window of a tower she was trapped in.  Thus began pottery making in Holland…

The story loses something in translation.  Actually, it’s just a story.  Holland’s rise to pottery fame (it began over a millennia before) was through the absence of beer.  The Dutch town of Delft’s brewing industry faded in the 1600’s.  Potters claimed the empty buildings.  They gave their new factories colorful names and made tin-glazed ware synonymous with their town’s name.

In 1658 Wouter van Eenhoom began a pottery in an old brewery, dubbing it “The Greek A.”  The factory went to his son in 1674.  The son’s widow took it over nine years later.  “The Metal Pot,” which until 1638 was the “De Ham” brewery, was also periodically owned by widows.  Egbert Huygeusz Sas started “The Golden Boat” in 1613.  His widow ultimately inherited it.

Many “widows” owned Delft pottery factories at one time or other: The Fortune, The Hart, The Young Moor’s Head, The Old Moor’s Head, The Ewer, The Porcelain Bottle…

These widows weren’t mere accidental owners.  Pottery ownership required membership in the Guild of St. Luke.  The Guild kept strict control over the quantity and quality of potteries within it’s domain.  Applicants had to prove their pottery making abilities.

Cornelius van der Hoeve began The Porcelain Claw in 1662.  His foreman, and later partner, was a woman named Oette van Schaen.  In 1668 van der Hoeve was succeeded by Cornelia van Schoonhove.  Just before her death, Cornelia ceded the pottery to her sister, Marie van Schoonhove.  Marie was succeeded by Bettje van Schoonhove.

The Two Poinards was begun and owned for 35 years by Barbara Rottewel.  Her husband, Simon Mes, was not a potter at all but a notary.  Her son succeeded her, then his widow.  Between 1771 – 1790 four Delemer sisters, previously faience dealers, renamed it The Three Bells and ran it as a soft paste porcelain factory.

It isn’t necessary to rely on tales of damsels in distress to recognize the role women played in Delft’s ceramic history.  Nor is it necessary to kill off your husband.  Just a pleasant afternoon of reading is all you need.

Readings:
Delftware, Dutch And English. N. Hudson Moore.  Frederick A. Strokes Company/New York. 1908.

The Concise Encyclopedia of Continental Pottery and Porcelain.  Reginald Hawthorn.  Haggar Books/New York.  1960.

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6 Responses to “The Delft Widow”

  1. Delft Ceramics | DELFT BLUE COLLECTIBLES Says:

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  3. Techno-ology: History « BPracticalPottery's Blog Says:

    […] that all modern ceramic craft must stem from ans pay homage to.  A lovely bi-monthly blog, “This Day in Pottery History” gives us vignettes of ceramics history. I have certainly thrown things out of my 110ft fire […]

  4. Techno-ology: History « BPracticalPottery's Blog Says:

    […] that all modern ceramic craft must stem from ans pay homage to.  A lovely bi-monthly blog, “This Day in Pottery History” gives us vignettes of ceramics history. I have certainly thrown things out of my 110ft fire […]

  5. Bastard China | This Day in Pottery History Says:

    […] this ware?  Trade with China via the Dutch East India Company was hitting its stride just when Delft, Holland became a major pottery center.  Keeping in mind Holland’s fabled marketing […]

  6. River Gods | This Day in Pottery History Says:

    […] River Gods favored Dutch delftware over English delftware.  Maybe this was because Dutch delftware painting, being directly […]

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