Background of Dutch Delft
By the middle of the 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 of these 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 occurred simultaneously with the decline of the beer brewing industry in Delft. As the Delft brewers ceased production, their large abandoned buildings on the canals were quickly occupied by the pottery makers who could utilize the large spaces and the convenient water source to transport their raw materials and finished wares. In the middle of the 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. 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. So successful were the Delft factories that many factories across Europe and especially in England across the channel began to produce delftware.
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