Background of Delft
By the mid-15th century, potters from southern Europe migrated through France to the Netherlands, and the earthenware industry became well established in Antwerp. In the second half of the 16th century, many protestant artisans were forced to leave Antwerp under religious pressure. Most moved to the northern Netherlands. The rise of the potting industry in the northern Netherlands coincided with the decline of the beer brewing industry in the town of Delft. As the brewers of Delft ceased production, their large abandoned buildings on the canals were quickly occupied by pottery makers. The pottery makers could utilize the vast spaces and the convenient water source to transport their raw materials and finished wares. In the mid-17th century, a war in China interrupted Chinese blue and white porcelain production to Europe. The potters in Delft were able to fill the void in the market, and they began producing earthenware in the style of Chinese porcelain, which they successfully marketed as “porcelain.” Within the next century and a half, the Delft pottery-makers became increasingly successful, and their range of styles broadened to include European subjects and other original styles. At the height of production, the city of Delft counted almost 40 factories.
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