Ceramics : Delftware
Delftware is a type of tin-glazed earthenware pottery that was popular as household decoration in the 17th and 18th centuries and has been collected ever since. It was developed to imitate the extraordinary blue and white and coloured porcelain being exported from China at this time which was embraced by a European market. Delft in The Netherlands was the major producer, and influenced similar pottery made in England, known as English Delftware. The main English potteries were in London, Liverpool, and Bristol.
Reading Museum has an exceptional collection of mainly English Delftware, mostly from the collection of H.E. Blatch. The Blatch family owned the Theale Brewery just outside Reading from the 1850s until 1965 and Herbert Blatch was a remarkable if little known collector. The large plates known as blue-dash-chargers and the enigmatic flower-bricks in his collection are particularly fine. All the dating and technical information on the individual object records has been kindly provided by Delft expert Rodney Woolley and the idea to catalogue the collection came from Delftware enthusiast Pelham Olive, who also sponsored the photography. The profile references are to standardised shapes in Archer, M., Delftware The Tin-Glazed Earthenware of the British Isles, London, 1997.