The De Claeuw (or 'De Klaauw') earthenware ceramic manufactory began life as one of the many breweries in sixteenth century Delft in the western Netherlands. However, in 1661 Cornelia Schoonhoven, a descendent of the family who had initially owned the brewery, and a businessman named Cornelis van der Houve converted the business into a ceramic factory producing delftware; tin-glazed earthenware usually decorated with blue derived from cobalt oxide. Over the following decades, the De Clauew business passed through the hands of various families, but it was during the first half of the eighteenth century that the factory became established as one of the top delftware manufacturers, utilising new techniques and producing a wide range of wares that reflected the changing tastes of eighteenth century Dutch society. Chinoiserie designs such as this were especially popular, and enabled those without the significant wealth required to purchase Asian export porcelain the chance to participate in the fashion for ‘the exotic’. This plate is copying a Chinese original from the Kangxi period (late 17th century), illustrating a scene taken from the popular Chinese tale 'The Romance of the Western Chamber'
A similar Dutch Delft dish illustrating the same scene from the Romance of the Western Chamber can be found in the collection of the V&A (C.2375-1910)