Earthenware manufacturer Plateelbakkerij Rozenburg was established in an abandoned warehouse in the centre of The Hague, in imitation of De Porceleyne Fles (Royal Delft) in Delft. The idea was to breathe new life into the legendary blue-and-white pottery. Two years later, however, the company’s plans changed radically with the arrival of decorative artist Theodoor Colenbrander (1841-1930). Under his leadership, the factory began producing striking dishes, bowls, vases and garnitures with exotic designs and whimsical decoration. Colenbrander’s unrestrained style and use of colour are unique. Hendrik Willem Mesdag and other Hague School painters were great fans of his work.

The arrival of director Jurriaan Kok (1861-1919) signalled the start of the production of eggshell porcelain at Rozenburg, which not only brought the factory international fame, but also earned it the royal seal of approval. The elegant decorative motifs complement the organic forms of the delicate vases and tableware made of thin, translucent bone china.

The history of Rozenburg is closely associated with the names Colenbrander and Kok. It is also, however, the factory where artist Jan Toorop (1858-1928) made his large reliefs, and where architects, builders and private customers ordered patterned tiles, commemorative plaques and advertising signs. In its heyday, the factory employed around a hundred painters, but the huge investments, growing competition and a conservative creative policy eventually led to its bankruptcy in 1917.

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