Flowers and Dutch porcelain

‘On a cold day in December I took a train to a small town called Weesp close to Amsterdam. I wanted to visit the Museum of Weesp with its fine collection of porcelain manufactured at the end of the 18th century. When I got off the train my first impression of Weesp was rather disappointing. I could have been in any small town in the Netherlands. There was an deserted bus stop, and the first block of houses I saw, was one of the ugliest blocks build in the eighties. But as I continued my walk to the city center, a surprisingly romantic town revealed itself to me. Lovely old houses, water canals, white drawbridges, small churches; Weesp has it all. My enthusiasm grew even bigger when I stepped into the City Hall, which also houses the museum at the second floor. What a friendly place to visit! A kind man at the reception let me in and gave me a quick tour around the building. And after ascending the impressive stairs to the second floor I found myself in the most charming museum I had  seen in years. There is only one room with porcelain because the factory in Weesp opened its doors in 1759 and had to close down in 1768 already. But within that decade they managed to produce a lovely collection! I pressed my nose against the glass cases to have a closer look at the meticulously painted details on the porcelain. I could see tulips, pansies, primroses, roses, cornflowers, daffodils and many other varieties. But I could also see little painted figurines, birds, peacocks, butterflies and trees. Some of the plates have little bees and flies randomly painted across the surface. A small text explained the little insects were painted to mask small flaws in the glaze. It is that sort of imperfection, the proof of handwork that makes my heart beat a little faster. I took pictures and made a few sketches of the flowers in my notebook. As I made some notes about the special colours used on the porcelain; mignonette green, beet red, soft yellow and brique orange, I noticed it was time to catch my train back home. Reluctantly I left Weesp.
A few months later I decided to make a big flower bouquet inspired by the beautiful paintings on the Dutch porcelain. The flowers I have chosen are the same type of flowers depicted on the porcelain: a beet red tulip, yellow and red roses, a brique orange   primrose, a blue hyacinth, and pink wild roses. When the bouquet was finished I returned to Weesp and brought my bouquet with me. The friendly man at the reception of the City Hall allowed me to take some pictures.’

Linda Nieuwstad, February 2017

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