Pair of Dutch Delft Cows Painted in Polychrome Petit Feu Colors Made circa 1760


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WHY WE LOVE IT: The cows are so delightfully expressive that my first impulse was to take them home and play with them.

This pair of polychrome figures of recumbent cows was made in Delft, circa 1760.

Each cow shows a spotted hide and brown forelock, eyes, horns, and tail. Each is wearing a delicate garland of flowers around its neck, and on its back is a colorful blanket of flowers. The colors are soft yet vibrant. They are modeled lying on the “green grass” top of a conforming base. The sides of each base are decorated: one with dashes of yellow, red, and light blue, the other red, yellow, and brown replicating a marbleized design.


3 inches tall x 3.5 inches across the base




$2700 for the pair

Background of Petit Feu colors:

Japanese Imari porcelains reached the Netherlands in the mid-17th century. They became very popular and inspired delft potters to emulate their colorful designs. In particular, Delft potters began experimenting with various color and firing techniques to achieve the Japanese style. Low temperature firing of enamel colors (petit feu) was one technique that allowed delft potters to expand their color palette. This technique was first used in the beginning of the 18th century. It requires three firings, allowing the potter to use colors that could not withstand the high temperatures in the kiln during the second firing (grand feu). With the low temperature colors on top of the glaze, the objects were fired again at a lower temperature. “For more information on Petit Feu Delftware see {Decorations in “Petit Feu” Colors} by Aronson Antiquairs.

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