mini trends

delft blue

by Grace Bonney

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i’m often drawn to colors in a magnetic way- a deep cherry red, a great mustardy yellow and most recently, warm, rich grays. but over the past month or so i’ve noticed that delft blue, a beautiful color that has its origins in 17th century holland, popping up all over the place. delft blue (sometimes called danish or dutch blue) was created by calcinating cobalt ore with quartz sand and potash- an extremely expensive process for artisans of the time. using paint grinding windmills, dutch artists would create the paint to decorate various porcelain vessels used for tableware. the city of delft had a high concentration of factories specializing in this process; during the 17th century they produced tiles and tableware with this unique blue color that was most often used to depict religious and floral motifs (often in a style similar to toile). [photo above, clockwise from top left: roses are blue dinnerware by rosanna inc. $30-$40, tablestories plate by tord boontje $312 for two 5-piece settings, cup by hella jongerius $360 at moss, delft candleholder by hella jongerius $580]

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today delft blue is popping up in tableware (where it’s always been popular), fabric, home accessories and art. contemporary dutch artists like hella jongerius (one of my personal favorites) are revisting the traditional artform, as are designers like rosanna bowles (whose blue dinnerware is a wonderful way of updating the color for the modern table). while the shade and hue may vary slightly from the original color, the influence of delft blue can be seen in a number of home designs this season. whether it’s a bold blue pillow or elegant modern ceramics, everyone can afford to bring a little bit of delft into their house. check out these options above and below for some fun ways to bring holland’s favorite blue to your home. [photo above clockwise left to right: modern delft paintings by douglas walker, paper napkins at sprout home $3.95 for 20, midsummer light by tord boontje $75, salad plate at sprout $15.50]


[photo above, clockwise from left to right: leaves decals from blik $36, urban tableware by stella in israel]


[photo above, clockwise from left to right: antique lace dinnerware by rosanna inc. $20-$40, not neutral pillow at 2modern $48, delft bowl by hella jongerius $550 and new 2006 fabric by teresa moorhouse for marimekko]

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  • true, but it was adapted differently by the dutch- the colors are actually different, though of a similar hue.


  • I love the idea of the blik decals. Do you know, is there any material available that is removable/reusable (live in an apt) that I could make my own patterns out of?

  • Blick do removeable decals now. They don’t have them on their website though. I am ordering them for my website this month.wherdidyoubuythat.com

  • Oooh, I just saw this post about delft.

    For years I have been collecting delft plates etc. I am partial to Asian designs. I will buy random blue and white plates and now I have a set of plates etc mismatched in pattern, but matched in color. It’s a cheap, fun way to get a great set of dinnerware, and it’s fun to see all your faves every time you serve a meal.

    Thanks for the post! Delft for All!

  • Do a search for vinyl static clings and you’ll find a lot of sites that can sell you either just the vinyl or do more exotic stuff. I think it’s used mainly for cars but would work great on a big mirror or window.

  • I’ve seen many of the “new Delft” designs out there + while i think that they are interesting, I don’t really find beautiful images of the London Tower or Brooklyn streets. The first series i’ve seen that adds the element of beauty to the interesting is a grouping called Tattoo by the new company INKdish. The art is a riff on traditional Japanese tattoo art done by L.A. – based tattoo artist Paul Timman. you can check it out on our site: propellermodern.com
    or INKdish:

  • It’s funny, but I wrote an article about my love of Delftware about a week ago, and then saw this on D*S. Great minds think alike, I suppose. :-P This is the website; just scroll down to the last article.

  • I recently saw this beautiful color popping up again in 2009… Does it seem like people change the name of the hue over time? Classic and popular as it reminds me of “Blue and white porcelain” for some reason.

  • Ming blue also made its way from China to Mexico, where we see it now in Talavera pottery. Chinese workers brought their art with them, and antique Mexican pottery shows their direct influence.

  • This blue and white colour spectrum is a childhood memory for me. Growing up with the china, I love it but not to much. Like to much blue glass can give me a headache too.

  • Some very inspirational items here! How refreshing the modern translations are… of the traditional use of the blue. Beautiful.

  • I have been a fan and use blue and white in my ceramic work as well.
    I feel I am carrying on the tradition of all those” hand painters” before me with a contemporary voice. I am thrilled you are exposing a new audience to it. Thank you. great site.

  • That color of blue is also great on fabrics and paints for designing your home’s interiors. I have always loved the blue and white and have accented with some wonderful reds.

  • I recently bought some gorgeous delft blue windmill cabochons from an etsy supplier and made them into stud earrings, they look beautiful on, and I’ve received so many compliments :) I bought them as they reminded me of my mums china collection when I was growing up. Fond memories!

  • The colors of blue and white are so appealing and fresh. Exquisite. As a fan of delftware and blue-white color this is so inspiring me and I am really happy. Maybe you are interested to see more about beautiful delftware collection just go through aronson.com