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Delft Antique Tiles
Dutch ornamental tiles were created in the 16th Century. The first use of wall tiles was probably in areas where dampness and dirt were worse and the earliest wall tiles were used mainly as baseboards, then other wall areas also began to be tiled... within the hearth and alongside it, on corridor walls and other places where one was likely to brush against whitewash.

At least half of the population lived in one-room dwellings and any tiles that could be afforded were restricted to baseboards. Until 1650, it was mainly the burghers of the cities in the province of Holland who tiled their living quarters.

The tremendous growth of the tile market was a function of growing prosperity in the early 16th to late 17th Century and these newly prosperous customers brought about spectacular growth in the industry. After 1600, hardly a year went by without the opening of a new tileworks.

Although Dutch tiles are commonly referred to as "Delft", this is merely a generic designation. Although tiles were made in the town of Delft, they were also manufactured in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Harlingen, Makkum, Haarlem, Leiden, and other Dutch towns. These tiles are in patterns of blue and white and polychrome, but also in purple and white (manganese), which were made in Rotterdam and other towns.

We became interested in Dutch tiles after we had been importing Dutch furniture and accessories for our shop, Black Swan Antiques, in Connecticut. We had been in business since 1985, selling mainly English and European furniture and accessories. When we wanted to buy and sell Dutch tiles, we learned that Bear's great grandfather, a deacon in the Old Church in Delft, also worked in the potteries there. So we feel that there is a link between our new venture and our own family history.

As will be shown on our selection pages, tiles depict a wide variety of subjects, from the most simple figure or tree to a complicated landscape or figural motif.


Susan and Hubert van Asch van Wyck