ENGLISH DELFTWARE BLUE DASH POTTERY CHARGERS
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. 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” and decorative examples with flowers, fruit and leaves.
Blue dash chargers were mainly produced spanning the years 1650 to 1730 in the London and Bristol workshops. Several fine examples are illustrated on the website representing King William and Queen Mary 1685, Queen Anne c1705, King George c1720, an Equestrian General c1690 and a wonderful Foliage decorative piece from the late 17th century..
A blue dash charger can find its home in an elegant town setting, a naïve folk room, a traditional oak period setting or in a modern design where it can provide a unique focal point. Equally a group of blue dash chargers make a bold and significant statement of style and taste providing a glorious pageant of natural colour and texture. 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.