Delft, circa 1760
The oval-shaped fruit dish and fitting stand have deep indented corners. Along the profiled rim a continuous band of moulded grape vines is applied, executed in blue, green and purple. The fruit dish stands on three small feet, the pierced holes in the center are outlined in blue. The well is painted with four small blue and white flower bouquets, the center of the stand with a larger one.
Dimensions: length 27 cm / 10.63 in., width 23 cm / 9.05 in.
A similar-shaped set from the Greek A pottery was sold in 2003 at Christie’s Amsterdam (p. 80, lot 238).
Fruit dishes were used for soft fruit like strawberries, blackberries and raspberries that needed to be washed before consumption. The washed, still wet fruit was laid on the dish and stand and could be placed on the table immediately. In eighteenth century sources they are referred to as "aarre bijen testen” (Eliëns, p. 124), which means ‘strawberry dishes’. This particular fruit dish is specifically meant for serving grapes. An openwork basket from the Porcelain Axe pottery with a painted grape decor suggests that it too was meant for serving grapes (Baarsen, p. 250, img 146). To Judge from the number of surviving examples, they must have been popular and frequently used items. They were also manufactured outside Delft, eighteenth century examples are known from the Arnhem delftware pottery and the Tichelaar family pottery in Makkum.
R. Baarsen (ed.), Rococo in Nederland, tent. cat. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam 2002
Christie’s Amsterdam, European ceramics, Dutch delftware and glass, 6 may 2003 (sale 2582), Amsterdam 2003
K. Duysters (ed.), Arnhemse faience (1759-ca. 1770). Een Europees avontuur, Zwolle 2008
T.M. Eliëns (ed.), Delfts aardewerk. Geschiedenis van een nationaal product, deel II, Zwolle/The Hague 2001
Price on request