Marks on Dutch Delft
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 which reflected the changing tastes of eighteenth century Dutch society. One such design was the popular 'peacock' pattern. The peacock feathers embodied the exoticism of the East, and the luxury status which such items held within Dutch society. Interestingly, the combination of peacocks, urns and scrolling vines may have originated in early Byzantine funerary iconography and can be found on sarcophagi and floor mosaics in Ravenna dating from the 4th century onwards.