Collecting: Delft Lacemaker Figures

Two Delft Lacemaker figures of very similar design. Both have the number 2391 inscribed on the back of the chair. The left example is a little over 15 cm high and sits on a stool with no back, the righthand one is 17 cm and has an open back chair (partially missing in this example).

Continuing with lacemaking figures from different countries, I very much like the Delft porcelain figures from the Netherlands. This will be a short post because I’ve only been able to find four of these figures, and not much solid information about any of them.

This is not the place to go into the history of Delft earthenware; the Wikipedia article on Delftware is as good a place as any if you are interested. Originally Delftware was a tin-glazed earthenware, the clay mixed from three different sources. By the time these pieces were made, their form is an underglaze blue on a white clay body.

The first two figures are extremely beautiful – the glaze on the first one is so fine that it is a bit hard to photograph. Both these figures have the same number, 2391, carved on the back of the chair.  In the two below, both have the number 2178 scratched faintly in the bottom of the base. They are quite similar, with openwork done on the back of the chairs. Note the windmills painted on the aprons of all the figures. None of these figures is inscribed with the ‘Delft Blauw’ mark from the officially sanctioned Royal Delft factory in the city of Delft. This basically means it’s very difficult to tell where they were made.  Nevertheless, the workmanship is very high quality on all of them, and they reach good prices (~$100 – ~$500 depending on condition).

Two very similar examples, the one on the left is 14.6cm high. The righthand figure is 13.0 cm high. Both have the number 2178 scratched in the bottom of the base. Both sit on a chair with an openwork back.

In searching on the term ‘lacemaker’ and ‘Delft’ on the internet, one is quickly overwhelmed by references to Vermeer’s Lacemaker, since he worked in Delft. One image that I found is a Vermeer lacemaker on a Delft platter, see Vermeer’s Lacemaker Charger on the Worthpoint site, which records auction prices. There are four photos of the plate, the last one with the Delft mark that the lacemakers in this post are lacking. This example is 13-1/2″ in diameter.

Here is a slightly different Vermeer Delft platter, 11-5/8″ in diameter:

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