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Flower pyramid

  • Place of origin:

    Delft (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1695 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    'Greek A' factory (makers)
    Metalen Pot factory (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tin-glazed earthenware, painted

  • Museum number:

    C.19 to J-1982

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 7, The Sheikha Amna Bint Mohammed Al Thani Gallery, case CA11 []

At the end of the 17th century there was a great craze for tulips in Holland. To cater for this, the ingenious potters at Delft, particularly the 'Greek A' factory, produced huge pyramids of stacking flower holders. Normally prodeuced in pairs, they were highly decorative additions to palaces and country houses, with or without their flowers. They were particularly popular in England in the circle of courtiers around King William III of Orange.
These 'pyramids', though, were surely modelled on Chinese pagodas rather than pyramids.
This vase is one of a pair, each consisting of a base, supported by four royal lions with a globe in their paws, nine tiers of square flower holders with a spout on every corner and a finial in the shape of a female bust. Each tier could be filled with water and flowers would be placed in every spout. Even the finial has holes in the top of the head intended for more flowers.

Physical description

Tin-glazed earthenware flower pyramid, painted in cobalt-blue.

Place of Origin

Delft (made)

Date

ca. 1695 (made)

Artist/maker

'Greek A' factory (makers)
Metalen Pot factory (made)

Materials and Techniques

Tin-glazed earthenware, painted

Dimensions

Height: 160 cm, Weight: 32.5 kg whole object

Object history note

From North Mymms Park and possibly made for the 1st Duke of Portland at the "Greek A" factory of Adrianus Koeks at Delft.

Descriptive line

Tin-glazed earthenware flower pyramid, painted in cobalt-blue, Netherlands (Delft), ca. 1695.

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

Hildyard, Robin. European Ceramics. London : V&A Publications, 1999. 144 p., ill. ISBN 185177260X

Labels and date

Flower pyramid
About 1695

After the collapse of the Chinese Ming dynasty in 1644, the Dutch East India Company could no longer obtain Chinese porcelain. Delft potters began making blue-and-white pottery in imitation. Stacked flower holders like this were made to display tulips and other natural and artificial flowers in Dutch and English grand houses. Large and complex in construction, these pieces were hugely ambitious and costly to produce in earthenware.

Dutch Republic, now the Netherlands (Delft)

Tin-glazed earthenware, painted in blue [09.12.2015]

Production Note

Attribution note: One of a pair

Materials

Tin glaze; Earthenware; Paint

Techniques

Painting; Glazing

Subjects depicted

Dogs; Floral patterns; Figures (representations)

Categories

Ceramics; Earthenware; Delftware

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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