Delft Tiles

Delft tiles date back to the flourishing tile industry of the Dutch. In the sixteenth and seventeenth when Italian artisans settled in Antwerp and introduced new and exciting techniques of producing Delft tiles. As the wealth of the Dutch grew, so did the demand for high-quality tiles that could withstand heat and protect homes from damp. The Italians, with their new techniques that made the tiles very long-lasting, took advantage of this newfound economy and started to mass-produce the tiles.
The unique, hand-made design proved very popular with the wealthy as well as the poor and ever since then; Delft tiles have been a staple design in the tile industry. Fast forward to the 21st Century, Delft tiles are just as popular as they were with the Dutch hundreds of years ago but are now even more available. Techniques and mass production has improved too, meaning Delft tiles have also become affordable and cheap for manufacturers to make. Quality has improved, too; with the development of better chemicals and paints.

The main characteristic of Delft tiles is their complicated and highly detailed blue designs on a white base. This style was adopted as an imitation of Chinese porcelain which was imported into Europe around the sixteenth and seventeenth-century respectively. When the imports stopped, Delft tiles were the cheap and local alternative that filled the missing spot.
Delft tiles were initially available to more prestigious and wealthy households, and always hand painted by tradesmen specialising in Delft tile production. Yet despite the endless possibilities of hand painted Delft tiles, there were many reoccurring themes in the design of them. Traditionally Delft tiles would depict local landscapes, local wildlife and flowers and herbs. Landscape designs usually depicted the local windmills or hills and cottages and the floral and wildlife design were also inspired by what grew and lived locally.

As reproduction of Delft tiles became more popular and they became cheaper to buy, those trends have stayed and can typically be seen in more traditional households.

Today, Delft tiles can be found as either cheap reproductions that use modern technology and give fantastic quality without the hefty price tag, hand painted per the request of the customer or you could also get your hands on antique Delft tiles. Antique Delft tiles can be difficult to come by but the older and better looking they are, the bigger the price tag. They are a wonderful sentiment of history however and for the avid collector, they area timeless piece to own.

Antique Delft tiles make a wonderful collection piece and also can be financially gained upon. As long as the tile is kept in good condition, as time goes on, the price tag goes up. The price of an antique Delft tiles depends mostly on the age of the tiles which is decided by looking at the clay used and the actual imagery and company logo. Most company would paint their logos on their tiles and different ages throughout history used different clays to make Delft tiles, building a vivid timeline of years gone by. Antique Delft tiles are actually quite an important part of history as they can help us understand what human migration and the tile trade did for the European economy and how it changed relations between countries.

More traditional designs of Delft tiles are usually seen in cottages or older terraced housed in the UK, although you may be able to spot the odd modern apartments still adapting these beautiful tiles into their kitchens and bathrooms. The versatile nature of Delft tiles makes them a timeless piece as they can be molded around any trends that come and go. Delft tiles are usually seen crossed over with other types of ceramic tiles such as Moroccan designs or geometric designs.
Typical places for Delft tiles would be as kitchen splashbacks, around fireplaces and in shower cabins or the bathroom in general. Delft tiles can either be a continuous design that spread across multiple tiles or individual tiles with a similar theme. In many European kitchens, you may see old cookers and the surrounding area decorated with Delft tiles depicting herbs used in the household cuisine.

Many coastal homes in the UK will also utilise Delft tiles to depict ships, ocean shores and cliffs. The same goes for hotels and guesthouses so next time you’re on holiday, do keep an eye out for white and blue ships knocking around. Coastal homes also tend to be smaller than city homes and the look of milky white tiles with simple blue designs give the illusion of more space.
Modern techniques of reproducing Delft tiles also means we have started to add more colours to Delft tiles. To go with themes of farm landscapes and wildlife, many modern adaptations of Delft tiles add colours such as brown and green but keep it subtle and blended in with the overall tile. There truly is no definitive way to make Delft tiles and each design is as unique as the next.
Delft tile murals are more accessible now than ever. With reproduction becoming cheaper as materials get better; treating your home to a Delft tile mural is no longer difficult or heavy on your finances. A large mural design made up of Delft tiles is a fantastic way of expanding a single tile design into a large, detailed pieces. For example take the traditional Delft tile design of a farmhouse and windmill. On one single Delft tile, that landscape usually isn’t very detailed and leaves out a lot of scenery. On a Delft tile mural however, there’s far more space to add details such a flowers, equipment round the farmhouse, people or even horses or wildlife. Delft tile murals are definitely a statement piece and would usually require more thought into the rest of the design of your space as a mural like that will quickly become a statement piece.

If farmhouse landscapes are too traditional for your tastes, why not try floral designs. Look for flowers that may have meaning to your family heritage or are local to your area. Large Delft tile murals make it possible to add more realism and detail to your flowers.

Delft tile murals also work well as a crossover with other ceramic tile designs. Moroccan geometric designs look beautiful when done in the style of Delft tiles and are definitely adaptable to the modern household. Such pieces look wonderful surrounding large claw bathtubs and around bathroom mirrors.

 

Fireplaces are also a great area to adorn with Delft tiles. When ceramic tiles were first introduced, any design including Delft, was used to put in the back of the fireplace to protect the brick of the house. These days, there isn’t any need for that as all fireplaces are installed in a way where they won’t cause damage to the structure of the house. So instead, Delft tiles can be used more artistically and on the outside of the fireplace.

Detailed Delft designs one next to another can look a bit cluttered in a minimalistic home so we suggest going for a simpler geometric design that will compliment a minimalistic household but also make for a wonderful traditional design. Modern techniques of glazing ceramic and the materials used in making Delft tiles means you don’t have to worry about the longevity of your tiles as they are guaranteed to last you for many years. Same goes for when Delft tiles are used in the kitchen or bathroom. Heat, grease, water and cleaning chemicals such as bleach will have no effect on your tiles. In older build homes, Delft tiles are a beautiful way of protecting the walls of your home.

 

We hope this has helped you understand more about Delft tiles and has gotten you fascinated enough to invest in these beautiful designs.

 

Here at Unique Tiles, we know all there is to know about Delft tiles. We pride ourselves on stocking a very wide range of Delft tiles to suit your tastes and budget. One thing we don’t ever compromise on is quality. Whether you go for a design that has been mass-produced in large quantities or a hand made one-off, the finish will be equally beautiful on both.

We choose our stockers very carefully. We make sure they have had a long history of excellent customer service and equally impressive quality of the tiles.

Our delft tiles will differ in price, mostly based on design and time it has taken to produce the tiles. Mass-produced tiles with set designs are cheaper because they are printed and take a fraction of the time that hand-painted tiles take to make. They are then glazed and fire at high temperature in a kiln, sometimes even several times, which gives them a high-quality finish and protects the blue designs from fading.

On the other end of our range, we have the very exclusive designs that are individually hand painted and not reproduced. These tiles in themselves, however, will range in price. If your chosen design was straightforward and didn’t require much detail, such as geometric designs, it will cost you less than detailed design. By intricate Delft tiles, we mean realistic images of farms, animals and flora. Hundreds of years ago, Dutch tiles were intended to depict local landscapes which included farmhouses, barns, mountains and various wildlife and floral designs. This was mostly down to culture and local traditions. If any of these designs sound like your type of thing, you can be certain that we will have them.
We can also cater to any taste. We specialise in reproduction of the original 16th and 17th Century Delft tiles. If you are curious about buying genuine antique Delft tiles, then our expert team of tile enthusiasts will always point you in the right direction. We’ve worked with Delft tiles long enough to pass on all the information you need to recognise the quality of Delft tiles and make sure you are paying the right price for you tiles.

Our tiles printing service includes everything you need to fit your new delft designs into your home. Traditionally, Delft tiles would mostly be used behind fireplaces as they can resist high temperatures or on walls which are prone to damp such as in a bathroom.
In our many years of experience, we have found that delft tiles work beautifully in large shower cabinets or by each side of a large bathroom mirror. The white and blue colour scheme gives the bathroom light, spacious feel, especially if you happen to have a bathroom without windows.

In a kitchen, on the other hand, while most modern kitchens won’t have fireplaces, they do have cookers. A large, bold design between the stove and fan above tends to look striking and attractive.

If you’re looking for something very unique that may need to made to order, we would be more than happy to do that for you. Just get on the phone to our team and explain to us what design you would like and where in your home you would like to place it. While we may be the experts at the practical side of putting delft tiles in your home, we do have a keen eye for design. We understand that delft tiles are probably some of the most unique and beautiful designs in the interior design world. And therefore, it can be tricky to try and place them into an apartment or modern penthouse.

If your mind is set up and you feel like Delft tiles are the perfect addition to your home, don’t hesitate to call us. We have an obligation free service where you can find out as much information as you need and we won’t pester you to buy our service. We truly love what we do, and our main goal is to make sure you are satisfied with the products we offer and the service we provide.

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UniqueTiles Ltd is the world leading Custom Printed Tiles manufacturing company based in UK, Somerset. We offer the highest quality service in interiors trade, to help you create a truly unique look, within your very own home.

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