William and Mary’s arrival from Holland to become King and Queen of England had a great effect on the artistic tastes of the last years of the Stuart Dynasty. Hampton Court Palace became the center of the Court, and the dark walls of the many galleries and closets were all accented with magnificent pieces of England and Dutch Delft. Holland had become the center of the tulip bulb trade, and the timing was perfect. Large Tulip vases were needed to display these exotic flowers. Enormous vases were required for the exotic miniature orange trees that were kept inside the Palace during the cold months of the year. Platters, teapots, barber’s bowls, chargers, and bowls were required for the royal table. The tables must have been splendid with large displays of tulips in their special containers, pewter and silver, and rich blue and white English and Dutch Delft handles for eating utensils.
Hampton Court is an easy journey by river boat from Westminster Pier in London. Take it to Hampton Court and enjoy the fabulous gardens and the rooms of beautiful Delft. Just imagine these wood-lined walls and corner cupboards exhibiting the King and Queen’s massive collection of fabulous Delft. Some pieces remain in the palace, and other pieces can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. After your wonderful visit through the Palace, return to London on the return ride on the Thames.
If you enjoy looking at 17th century Dutch paintings, you will notice that many of the floral arrangements are displayed in Delft pottery vases. Tulips and all kinds of fruit and insects pepper the paintings. I love them very much. My great grandmother had her ancestors’ Delft-handled knives and forks. I always thought they were 18th century Meissen knives until I read my great grandmother’s diary entry: ”My great grandmother’s Delft knives need to be kept with her silver spoons and forks as they have always been together.” My great grandmother’s diary entry was written in 1879; the knives belonged to her great grandmother and probably to her great grandmother before her. I thought you would enjoy seeing them. They are still in the black lacquer chest with her Georgian silver spoons–after all these years. I have taken a photo for your to enjoy.
When I went to the Victoria and Albert in January to see Kandler’s Meissen figures ca. 1750, I came face to face with huge pieces of English and Dutch Delft which once lined the walls of Hampton Court Palace. They were spectacular. This fine Delft was made between 1680 – 1720 and originally in Antwerp after 1512.
About 1925, My grandmother was in England and brought back to America her family’s pair of Delft lamps. They date to about 1910, and the shades were painted to accent the vases. They are not the age of the Delft of Hampton Court, but they speak highly for the fine work still done at the Delft factory in Holland during the early part of this century. When I used to visit my grandmother, I used to call her lamps her bugaboo-lights. When my grandmother died, I inherited them–both of them, can you imagine! What in the world. I wondered what I would ever do with them. They are now in a guest bedroom with my grandmother’s chest, black lacquer jewelry boxes and writing desk, and her great grandmother’s portrait painted in London in 1843.
Well, that’s enough about Delft. I hope I haven’t bored you all to tears.
Thomas Moore email: TMooreSr@me.com Telephone: 801.791.9918