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Notes on the Geography of The Netherlands: Delft: Porcelain

Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles (literally, the Royal Porcelain Jar) was established in 1653 as a maker of imitation Chinese porcelain. The real stuff was first imported by the VOC in 1600. By the 19th century, the imitation product was collapsing in the face of competition from England and China.  For a time, after other companies had gone out of business, this one survived by making bricks. In 1876, it was revived by its owner, Joost Thooft, who introduced superior clays. Design was largely entrusted to Leon Senf, whose work appears in the company's extraordinary Rotterdamsweg office courtyard. The work in it won the Grand Prix at the 1900 World's Fair in Paris.

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The Netherlands: Delft: Porcelain picture 1

A handsome typeface.

The Netherlands: Delft: Porcelain picture 2

Every surface in the courtyard is treated differently, as an outdoor sample-book.

The Netherlands: Delft: Porcelain picture 3

There's a touch of the medieval.

The Netherlands: Delft: Porcelain picture 4

There's a bit of Wagnerian mass.

The Netherlands: Delft: Porcelain picture 5

Here's a duplicate of a panel made for ANIEM, the Dutch-controlled electricity company in Jakarta. Penstocks run down a hillside into an Orientalized powerhouse.

The Netherlands: Delft: Porcelain picture 6

A Moorish moment.

The Netherlands: Delft: Porcelain picture 7

Detail.

The Netherlands: Delft: Porcelain picture 8

Alas, the shop has nothing for sale like this--only much more conventional pottery.


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