The History of Delft Wall Tiles in Australia

Olde English Tiles Delft Wall Tiles is an acknowledgement of the many cultures throughout history that have made an invaluable contribution to the science, technology and/or the aesthetics of ceramic tiles that are not directly associated with the 19th & early 20th century Anglo Australian ceramic tile experience - such as Puebla experience.

The origins of Delft tiles are so culturally, politically and technically complex that countless books and articles have been written about them. Here is a brief summary:
Due to war and religious persecution at the end of the 16th century the tradesmen of Antwerp fled north to safer territories. As a result the ceramic skills of the potters were transplanted to England, Germany and Holland. The earliest Dutch tiles still reveal the influence of their Spanish and Italian origins, but gradually the colours, themes and ornamentation became more genuinely Dutch.

At the beginning of the 17th century the first Chinese porcelain was distributed in Holland. Trade with China existed by way of the Dutch East India Company and millions of pieces of Chinese porcelain were shipped to Amsterdam. With the death of the Chinese emperor in 1620 an embargo was placed on this trade, resulting in Dutch potters imitating the popular Chinese decorations. This gave rise to the creation of the distinctive "Delft blue" tiles and pottery. Delft blue became world famous, to such an extent that it became the generic name for all earthenware tiles and objects painted in that blue, even if they were not made in Delft.

With power, wealth and national pride came a desire to see Dutch life and culture represented on Delftware. Tiles were painted with scenes from daily life, such as men and women performing various trades, soldiers and horsemen, maritime scenes, sporting scenes, children playing, landscapes and Bible scenes. Tiles were employed in a wide variety of situations in houses: around chimney places, as lintels and skirting tiles, in corridors and staircases, and of course in kitchens.

Delft tiles became famous, exported around the world, from Brazil to Denmark and Russia. They even reached China and Japan, where they made porcelain versions of Delftware to export back to Europe.

By the mid 1800's however, manufacture of Delft tiles had seriously declined, due to a weakened economic situation and competition from mass-produced industrial tiles from England and Germany.

The designs in OETA's "Delft" range are individually hand-painted by our in-house artist. You can choose from our standard patterns or have something custom-made to your specific requirements.

Most Hand Painted tiles in the "Delft Collection" are done to order and can take 3 to 5 weeks before delivery pick up is organized.

1/ Several designs in the “Delft Collection” are original OETA designs. They are marked with a +. Any unauthorized copying will incur legal action. All other designs are based on traditional motifs.
2/ All tiles in the OETA “Delft Collection” are hand-painted. Variations from tile to tile are an inherent characteristic of these tiles and add to their charm. No claims will be considered based on variations of colour or motif details.
3/ All designs in the “Delft Collection” are available in 100 x 100mm white or vanilla.
4/ Designs marked with a ^ are available with square corners only. All other designs are available with round corners or square corners with ripple surface.
5/ Most designs in the "Delft Collection" come with Blue corners. Tiles marked with # do not have this option.
6/ The glazes used to decorate tiles in the “Delft Collection” are 100% lead free.
7/ OETA reserves the right to alter or discontinue designs in the “Delft Collection” without prior notice.

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