Posted 12 months ago
A posting for bazelmania, blunderbuss, valkma and agram!
April 30 is an important Day in the Netherlands.
Queen's Day becomes King's Day.
Today is the day when the new Dutch King takes over from his mother.
This is a commemorative plate from the De Porceleyne Fles v/h Joost Thooft en Labouchère, Delftsch Aardewerkfabriek that dates to 1919. It has a lot of history on the face of it and more besides.
I bought it six months ago from the Monthly Collector's Fair here in Sydney. As you may know I have an interest in things Dutch. When I first saw it I knew that it was different to most of the pieces you see from the Delft factory. What immediately caught my eye was the date 1919, the year of my father's birth. I went and got my friend Alex who is Dutch and asked his opinion. We both loved it and so I decided to buy at the good and hefty price.
The plate is about Trade & Colonisation. It commemorates 300 years of the VOC in Asia : de Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or the United East India Company, the world's first multinational and the first megacorporation. "In 1619 Jan Pieterszoon Coen was appointed Governor-General of the VOC.
He saw the possibility of the VOC becoming an Asian power, both political and economic. On 30 May 1619, Coen, backed by a force of nineteen ships, stormed Jayakarta driving out the Banten forces; and from the ashes established Batavia as the VOC headquarters.
In the 1620s almost the entire native population of the Banda Islands was driven away, starved to death, or killed in an attempt to replace them with Dutch plantations. These plantations were used to grow cloves and nutmeg for export. Coen hoped to settle large numbers of Dutch colonists in the East Indies, but implementation of this policy never materialized, mainly because very few Dutch were willing to emigrate to Asia." Wikipedia.
The choice of the name Batavia is interesting in itself. The politics of colonisation. If you occupy a place you give it a name and it is yours.
Sunda Kelapa became Jayakarta became Batavia became Jakarta.
"Batavia (region), a land inhabited by the Batavian people during the Roman Empire, today part of the Netherlands.
Batavia is the Latin name for the land of the Batavians during Roman times. This was roughly the area around the city of Nijmegen, Netherlands, within the Roman Empire. The remainder of this land is nowadays known as Betuwe. During the Renaissance, Dutch historians tried to promote these Batavians to the status of "forefathers" of the Dutch people. They started to call themselves Batavians, later resulting in the Batavian Republic, and took the name "Batavia" to their colonies such as the Dutch East Indies, where they founded the city that was called Batavia from 1619 until about 1942, when its name was changed to Djakarta (later respelt Jakarta; see: History of Jakarta). The name was also used in Suriname, where they founded Batavia, Suriname, and in the United States where they founded the city and the town of Batavia, New York. This name spread further west in the United States to such places as Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, and Batavia, Ohio." http://curusetra.wordpress.com/tag/batavia/
My friend Alex's family were some of those emigrants and Alex was born in Jakarta. This plate has significance for those Dutch ex-pat settlers. He moved to Australia after Indonesian independence.
But Batavia also has a significance here in Australia too. Off the coast of Western Australia lie the remains of a VOC ship called the Batavia that ran aground on these shores in 1629. I flew over these reefs last year in four seater plane on a trip most spectacular along the coast near Geraldton. A place of stunning beauty, desolation and danger. The Dutch were early visitors to Australia or New Holland.
"On 4 June 1629 the ship struck Morning Reef near Beacon Island ... , part of the Houtman Abrolhos off the Western Australian coast. Of the 322 aboard, most of the passengers and crew managed to get ashore, although 40 people drowned. The survivors, including all the women and children, were then transferred to nearby islands in the ship's longboat and yawl."
A tale of mutiny, murder and final rescue!
The design of the plate is attributed to Adolf Le Comte. It is also an example of ceramic innovations at the Delft Factory. In 1909 the factory allowed Le Comte to experiment with colours. This is a period at the factory called NIEUW DELFTS. Le Comte's palette is based on that of "Islamitisch Keramiek" or Islamic Ceramics: green, blue and red on a white slip background. A special, transparent glaze was used to produce the highly distinctive “running” colour effects. On this plate they are used primarily in the border decoration which has the inscription of the VOC slogan: 'de cost gaet voor de baet uit' 1598 - "It takes money to make money."
The 1598 refers to the beginnings of the Spice Trade with the departure of five ships from Rotterdam: De Hoop disappeared in the Pacific, De Liefde arrived in Japan with 24 out of a crew of 110, Het Geloof lost its way for a while and returned to Rotterdam without having landed anywhere, De Trouw still had a crew of 24 out of 89 when it was captured by the Portuguese in Tidore, where all were murdered and De Blijde Boodschap surrendered to the Spanish at Valparaiso.
De cost gaet voor de baet uit!
The costs were high indeed for spices like mace, nutmeg and cloves!
When researching the plate I found that there is another in the Keramiekmuseum Princessehof in Leeuwarden. It is slightly different in the cloud detail of the painting of my plate and shows that each plate in the series made is hand painted to a design by Adolf Le Comte. On the back of my plate is the number 817. I do not know of its significance. Note the signature on the back of the plate as well. Perhaps the artist was the famous Leon Senf? Is that his mark within the design of the plate between the letters VOC?
Of interest as well are the two badges to the left and right of the plate. On the left is the coat of arms of the city of Jakarta and to the right is that of the region of Zuid Holland. These are hand done on each plate and are similar to the work on the Porceleyne Fles Cloissonnée tiles from 1907 onwards. However on these plates the work is done without 'cloison' borders. Really neat!