Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2010
The tradition of tin glazed earthenware has strong links with the industry of 'delftware' in Holland and as such is often referred to as 'English delft'. The earliest known producers in England of the highly sought after tin glazed pottery were immigrants from Antwerp, first settling in Norwich in 1567 then later moving to Alder Gate London where there is record of a pottery with six more Flemish potters under employment.
Religious persecution by the Spanish in the low countries towards protestants forced people to flee, England was attractive to the Flemish potters with a certain amount of freedom in their religion, commercially 'tin' glazed ceramics was an established lucrative market and clay in Norfolk was very suitable for the industry. Clay from Yarmouth can be traced as being exported from 1597 to Rotterdam to be used in the delftware industry and later the same clay source were transported to London when the industries moved to the capital.
At this stage the pottery produced differs little from the Dutch imported pottery and attributing pottery directly to the early site in London can be difficult. The earliest known dated piece of English delft is held at the
Museum of London.
As the English delft industry established itself, painting styles, techniques and shapes all expanded to meet an ever growing market. The versatility of the pottery showed itself, in inscribed commemorative wares, wedding gifts, ornaments and simple wine bottles. Each pottery producing a greater range to supply the demanding population.