Hague porcelain

After a long period of experimentation, Europe finally began to produce porcelain in the early eighteenth century. The Netherlands caught up in the second half of the century and four porcelain factories were established here at that period. The histories of three of them – Weesp, Loosdrecht and Amstel – were closely linked. The fourth, active in The Hague from 1776 to 1790 and run by members of the Lijncker family, was an entirely separate enterprise. It developed out of a shop that opened in 1772 to sell ceramics and textiles. In 1776 work began on decorating and refiring porcelain blanks produced elsewhere. To underline the local origin of the pieces, the stork emblem of The Hague was used as the factory mark.

The undecorated blanks, brought mainly from factories in Ansback (Germany) and Tournai (Belgium), display a wide range of the shapes then customary in European porcelain. They were decorated by porcelain painters recruited abroad (chiefly in Germany) and, although the decoration also reflects fashions elsewhere, it often has a touch of individuality that points to the Hague factory. Around 1778, the Lijnckers suggested that the factory was producing porcelain in its own right. However, in-depth research in contemporary sources and examination of the products themselves has led to the conclusion that this was never the case.

The products of the Hague factory were initially well-received. They sold well (by way of lotteries) and both the town authorities and the stadtholder’s court were actively involved in the enterprise. However, a convergence of political, social, economic and perhaps also personal factors led to a down-turn during the second half of the 1780s. The last director, Johann Frantz Lijncker, found himself obliged to close down the Hague porcelain factory in 1790.

The collection of Hague porcelain is published in: Constance L.H. Scholten, Haags Porselein, 1776-1790. Een ‘Hollands’ product volgens de internationale mode, The Hague/Zwolle 2000.

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