De Grieksche A factory
Delft (Netherlands), c. 1710
Grand feu faience
Stamp painted in blue: PAK
77 x 46 cm
Bequest of Alexandrine Grandjean, Grandjean collection, 1923
Inv. GR 172
© Les Arts Décoratifs
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This large lidded “potiche” vase, dating from about 1710, was probably the central element of a five-piece garniture (decorative set) that also comprised cornet and bottle vases. Its impressive outline, swollen belly and harmonious proportions were inspired by sixteenth-century Chinese potiches dating from the Ming dynasty. Its decoration of pierced rocks, knotty branches, chrysanthemums and long-tailed phoenixes was also inspired by Chinese pieces. The three-color polychromy of blue, green and red, however, was an original interpretation of the polychromy on contemporary Japanese Kakiemon and Imari porcelains. The nineteenth-century enthusiasts who rediscovered the beauty of this decorative style called it “cashmere,” by analogy with the dense floral designs on Indian shawls. The creation of the Dutch East India Company in 1602 led to the massive arrival in Holland of Chinese porcelain which became hugely popular. Dutch potters strove to imitate Chinese porcelain; they developed a fine-grained faience paste which, when coated with glossy stanniferous enamel, looked so similar to Chinese porcelain that it was (wrongly) called “Delft porcelain.” The combined Asian and European influences resulted in a new kind of production. The city of Delft, which boasted some twenty factories at the time, built its reputation on the production of very high quality faience. The fashion for decoration in shades of blue, inspired by the Chinese blue and white porcelain typical of the last decades of the seventeenth century, gave way to a taste for a richer polychromy. This vase was made at the De Grieksche A (“Greek A”) factory, managed at that time by the widow of Pieter Adriaensz Kocks, who kept her husband’s initials as the factory’s mark after his death in 1703. The De Grieksche A factory was one of the foremost factories in Delft specialized in the imitation of Far Eastern porcelain. Its status was such that it supplied many pieces designed to decorate the Dutch and English palaces of William III of Orange-Nassau (1650-1702), Stadtholder of Holland and King of England, based on drawings by Daniel Marot, ornamentalist to the king.
S. M. Christine Lahaussois, La Faience de Delft, collections du musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs-Réunion des Musées Nationaux, no. 73, 1998, p. 85, repr. 74.