Delft Blue series 2007
Dutch tiles are frequently decorated with images of ships and exotic sea creatures. Literally, millions of tiles were produced in the 17th and 18th century, and their uniformity was essential to create a pleasing effect on the wall. Decorators sometimes took inspiration from the events of the day as well as from prints and paintings. Much used figurative designs often have a print as their source. With ornamental designs however, things are quite different. To date, little research has been undertaken into the influence of ornamental prints on tile design. Some designs appear timeless and have been constantly in production for some 200 years, other designs were more ephemeral and are a reflection of contemporary fashions. Up until now, very little attention has been paid to the origins of ornamental designs on Dutch tiles.
I lived in Holland near Delft for many years and was always fascinated by the many designs on these tiles and wanted to know more about the origin. While visiting the renowned international art and antiques fair (TEFAF), I discovered many books on the history of tiles and tile decoration through the ages. After purchasing several reference books, I set out to paint my own interpretation of Delft Blue tiles on canvas.