The two modelled cows lie on a fan-shaped base and have their heads turned to each other. Their heads are painted in brown-red and accented in black, the hooves and the tails are black, the udders yellow. The hides of the cows are dotted in red. The body of the cows are decorated with polychrome garlands of flowers and a simple one is painted around the necks. The sides of the bases are marbled in brown-red, black and yellow.
Dimensions: height 8,5 cm / 3.14 in., length 10 cm / 3.93 in., width 4.5 cm / 1.57 in.
A pair of reclining petit feu cows were auctioned at Christie’s Amsterdam in 2005 (lot 400). The same pair in grand feu technique are in the Arnhem Museum (Duysters, p. 51, nr. 73, front row, middle). A second pair, also in grand feu colours, was auctioned at Sotheby’s Amsterdam in 1997 (lot 559).
Together with dogs, horses and parrots, cows are the most frequently modelled animals in eighteenth century Dutch Delftware. They were put on the market between 1740 and 1780 and were produced by nearly every Delftware pottery. Only two types are known: a reclining cow and a standing cow. The latter could be made as a milking group, together with a farmer and his wife. The two types were executed in a great variety of form, dimension and colour combination. They can be monochrome white, blue and white, or polychrome. Some monochrome white models were cold-painted. Outside Delft, figures of cows were also made on a small scale in tile factories in Amsterdam. The use of floral wreaths on cows or bulls harks back to a seventeenth century custom. Every year the butchers guild held a parade with the prize-winning cows and bulls, which were lavishly adorned with flowers and floral wreaths (Eliëns, p. 236).
Christie’s Amsterdam, European ceramics, Dutch Delftware and glass, 2 November 2005 (sale 2677), Amsterdam 2005
K. Duysters, ‘Delfts aardewerk uit de collectie van Museum Arnhem. De verzameling van W.F.K. baron van Verschuer’, in: Vormen uit Vuur, nr. 229 (2015/3)
T.M. Eliëns, Delfts aardewerk. Geschiedenis van een nationaal product, deel II, Zwolle/The Hague 2001
Sotheby’s Amsterdam, European Ceramics, Dutch Delftware and glass, 7 October 1997 (sale AM 677), Amsterdam 1997
Price on request