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  • Place of origin:

    Delft (made)

  • Date:

    1650-1670 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tin-glazed earthenware with fragments of fire-resistant clay

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 143, The Timothy Sainsbury Gallery, case 39

This arresting Delftware 'waster' may look like an example of contemporary ceramic art but in fact dates from the mid-17th century. It was excavated from the 'Zuidergracht' Canal in Delft, which formed the border of an area where several of the main tin-glazed earthenware ('Delftware') potteries were located, and consists of thirty-four large blue and white dishes that fused together when the protective cylinder in which they were fired collapsed in the kiln. Quite apart from its dramatic sculptural presence, the waster is a telling illustration of the tremendous risks involved in firign pre-industrial pottery - as all of the plates were beautifully hand-painted with Chinese patterns before being placed in the kiln - and also of the standardisation of production at this early date. Similar dishes have previously been attributed to Hamburg in Germany, and wasters like this have helped reattribute them to Delft.

Physical description

A pile of 34 blue-and-white decorated earthenware plates in Chinese 'transitional style' which have collapsed during firing, causing them to deform and fuse together. Attached to it are fragments of the fire-clay kiln-furniture which supported the plates for firing. There are numberous fragments of triangular stilts and two pieces of the protective cylinder of 'saggar', one of which still has a stilt inserted. Each dish has two pierced suspension holes.

Place of Origin

Delft (made)


1650-1670 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Tin-glazed earthenware with fragments of fire-resistant clay


Height: 50 cm, Width: 42 cm, Depth: 35 cm, Diameter: 28 cm individual plates

Descriptive line

Pile of dishes fused together during firing, tin-glazed earthenware, Delft, Netherlands, late 17th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

T.Eliens (ed), Delfts wit: Het is niet alles blauw dat in Delft blinkt/ White Delft: Not just blue, Den Haag/ Zwolle, 2013, p. 164, fig 210, our kiln waster depicted


Earthenware; Ceramics; Delftware


Ceramics Collection

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