Since 1653, the Royal Delft pottery factory has created signature fine porcelain and ceramic works here in the Netherlands. The artisans still create and paint the works by hand, and, approaching the celebration of my mother’s fourscore years, it was a fitting place to shop for a gift and to peek into a bit of Dutch history.
The factory is located in a stained brick building along a crowded street in central Delft. Despite their reputation, the location is smaller and less prominent than I expected, even though it includes a museum, production facilities, cafe, and a showroom. The Blue Delft theme carries through it all: even the toilet basins have the traditional glaze.
The museum (6.50 euro admission) features many examples of the pottery and a wide collection of traditional Christmas and commemorative plates. The artist painting pieces can explain the materials and process behnd the distinctive colors and patterns.
The factory is filled with work in progress, waiting for paint and firing.
The showroom prices are about double what I would expect, bottoming out at 100 euro and rising over 300 for most of the nice pieces. There are “second choice” selections, with minute flaws, and everyday-ware in Delft patterns, which cost less, but the hand-made articles are highly valued.