High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

A Brief History of Dutch Tiles
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A Brief History of Dutch Tiles

(Ella B. Schaap) The Low Countries - 1997, № 5, pp. 108-117

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Between the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries, hundreds of millions of majolica wall tiles were produced in the Netherlands. Tiles were the first items to be mass-produced for a growing Dutch middle class. These decorative tiles stemmed from a long history, starting in the Far East, then along the trade routes to the Middle East and the Mediterranean area, and finally flowering in Holland in the seventeenth century. In Europe throughout five centuries, imaginative architects have used the wall tile to enhance their designs, either in blue and white or in polychrome, exploiting their unparalleled possibilities of colour and variety. Nonetheless, Dutch tiles have been taken for granted for far too long. Only recently have wall tiles been valued both as a form of decoration and as artefacts that can give us a great deal of information about daily life during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The time has come for serious historical study of tiles as an important art form akin to the painting, drawing and print making of Holland's Golden Age.

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