John Howard
The Antique English Pottery Specialist
Heritage, 6 Market Place, Woodstock, OX20 1TA | +44 (0)1993 812580 | +44 (0)7831 850544
Read More

English Delftware


The term “Delftware” is used to describe tin-glazed earthenware, the most popular form of domestic pottery from the mid-17th century until the mid-18th century. It was eventually replaced by lead glazed and creamware pottery thanks to the work of Wedgwood, Whieldon and other Staffordshire potters. These new wares were more functional and affordable.

Delftware has a tin glaze coating containing tin oxide which produces an opaque white brilliant surface. It hides the underlying buff coloured clay body and produces a surface similar to porcelain which is an ideal surface to decorate. The palette of colours is limited as the mineral pigment used required high firing temperatures. The classic colour range is blue, yellow, orange, purple, green and red.

The development of the tin glaze technique derived from the town of Delft and it is likely that the Dutch potters were inspired by the Chinese porcelain which graced the tables and rooms in the finest houses.

The English potters, who employed many immigrant workers from the continent, were quick to exploit the new technique and markets developed by the Dutch. The main centres of English production were London, Bristol, Liverpool and Wincanton. Delftware was also produced in Dublin and Glasgow in the mid-18th century.

Many everyday wares were made: tiles, mugs, drug jars, plates, dishes, bottles, posset pots, salts, candlesticks, fuddling cups, puzzle jugs, barber’s bowls, pill slabs, porringers, flower bricks and vases. Perhaps the most iconic items in delftware are the Blue Dash chargers. They are stunningly decorative and often made to commemorate Royal and Military personalities. Amongst the most popular were the Adam and Eve Chargers of “The Temptation”.

Many types of decoration were produced; floral bouquets, tulips, oak leaves, fruits, animals, birds, buildings, rural landscapes, religious themes, social commentary, ships, chinoserie etc. etc. Some of the images produced are truly artistic and are fine early examples of “outsider art”. The decoration is often simply and naively rendered in an informal and fluid form and when combined with the specific range of colours results in a highly stylised art form which is uniquely recognisable. There is a certain humanity in the soft creamy white glaze and colours which have an easy and timeless appeal.

There are many serious private collections of English delft and most international museums will have several examples in their inventory. Major collections are held in both English and American Museums.

Numerous reference books have been produced on the subject of English delft. Michael Archer has produced several major works relating to delftware in museum collections, The Fitzwilliam Museum the most notable. Dated English Delftware by Lipski and Archer is acknowledged as one of the major references.

Other significant works are often associated with collections such as Longridge written by Leslie Grigsby which has a comprehensive number and range of images.

English delftware farm plate with peacock in tree Bristol circa 1725

Reference: 3236

Antique English delftware "Farmyard Series" earthenware plate decorated with a well coloured peacock which is perched in a tree. A fine example with manganese sponged decorated trees.

Price: gbp 3650.00 (Pound Sterling)
USD 5694 (US Dollars)

English delftware earthenware blue dash Royalty portrait charger Queen Anne circ...

Reference: 3260

A fine and rare English delftware pottery blue dash charger with the royal portrait of Queen Anne and initials A R. The Queen is crowned and holding an orbe and sceptre.

Antique English delftware pottery Balloon plate, London c1785

Reference: 3238

A London probably Lambeth or Glasshouse Street pottery delftware ballooning plate late 18th century. The plate commemorates the flight of Vincezo Lunardi from Moorfields London on the 15th September 1784. It is recorded that Vincenzo took his ca...

Price: gbp 2450.00 (Pound Sterling)
USD 3822 (US Dollars)

Set of six Liverpool powder blue delftware tiles mid 18th century period

Reference: 3229

A set of six antique English delftware tiles decorated in powder blue with image of a floral display in a basket the four corners with angel head spandrels. Liverpool workshop circa 1750 period.

Dimensions: 4.75 inch high

Price: gbp 900.00 (Pound Sterling)
USD 1404 (US Dollars)

Antique English delftware pottery large sized plate Lambeth London mid 18th cent...

Reference: 2855

A very fine English delftware large sized plate from the pottery works of William Griffiths of Lambeth High Street, Lambeth London England. The blue powdered border is decorated with four flowers in relief with trailing scratched decoration of vin...

Price: gbp 1200.00 (Pound Sterling)
USD 1872 (US Dollars)

Bristol Pottery delftware plate decorated in polychrome with peacock in a tree....

Reference: 2809

A highly decorative delftware polychrome plate decoarted with a peaock perched somewaht comically in a tree. The naive rendition is exceptional and very full with very strong application of the colours especially the yellow tail of the bird.

Price: gbp 3350.00 (Pound Sterling)
USD 5226 (US Dollars)

© 2015 Antique Pottery of John Howard @ Heritage, Woodstock, UK