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Verwoerd Ceramics Online   

The Verwoerd Painters

Most Delft medallions that were produced by the Verwoerd Ceramics Studio have been designed, manufactured, and painted by Cornelis Verwoerd. His work is amply illustrated in both our Windmill Series and Rare Delft Designs galleries. Verwoerd's "Delfts" signatures can be found in our Compact Guide To Delft Jewelry Signatures. However, from the very start the Verwoerd Studio has employed selected painters in order to meet the demand for its high quality hand painted cabochons. Between 1949 and 1959, some 20 painters were asked to submit test samples of Blue Delft windmill sceneries using bisque medallions and paint provided to them. All-in-all only four painters were actually hired. Initially these were painters Verwoerd knew from his years at Zenith Gouda and Plateelbakkerij Schoonhoven, i.e. Driek de Jong and Piet Woerlee. Both were several years older than Verwoerd was. Two younger painters were hired relatively early in their careers, Ms Adri Gaasenbeek, and Ton de Kruyf. The present state of our research is reflected in illustrated résumés of all four artists. These brief articles may help to identify their work, and appreciate their contribution to the Verwoerd workshop heritage. The Verwoerd Ceramics Online museum is grateful for the valuable assistance it has received from Ms Adri Van Doorn-Gaasenbeek, Ton de Kruyf, and Ms Gerie Zanen-de Jong.
 


H.C. de Jong

Hendrikus Cornelis (Driek) de Jong (Gouda 1907-1972) has worked for PZH Gouda, and from 1934 until his untimely decease in 1972 - only a few months before his retirement - for Zenith Gouda. At Zenith, where he is invariably known as "HC", he becomes head of their advanced trainee ward. When Verwoerd starts his workshop, Driek de Jong agrees to help him out, and in his spare time he paints for the Verwoerd workshop from late 1949 to early 1956. His work is not particularly rare. We did not discover any exact production figures, but from the number of vintage pieces by De Jong we have seen, and on the basis of his yearly income from the Verwoerd workshop, we estimate that over the years he has painted a total of between 25,000 and 50,000 pieces, mostly models RL9x14.5 and OL10x20. He did some round models as well, such as C12.5. His work can be recognized by the fact that the adjacent farmhouse is usually at the right hand side of his windmill, and that the wings of his small windmill at the horizon are often - but not always - at an angle of 45 degrees. His known signatures are the rubber stamp "three stones" mark (1949-1950) provided by Verwoerd, and a hand painted "three stones" signature (1950-54). A plain "Delfts" signature exists as well. (Brooch picture courtesy 'Melodies Memories'.)
 


P. Woerlee

Piet "Woerlee (Gouda 1886-1963) has worked for various Gouda companies such as "PZH", P. van der Want's "Ivora", and "Plateelbakkerij De Iris". In 1937-38 he works at "Plateelbakkerij Schoonhoven" in Schoonhoven where he becomes the mentor of the young Verwoerd. After WWII he continues as a free lancer, and paints amongst others for "Van Katwijk" (probably until the death of Frans van Katwijk in 1952) and for the Verwoerd Ceramics Studio (1953-1956). Woerlee is already 67 years of age when he starts working for Verwoerd, and he decorates mostly larger models such as round medallions C20, C25, C28, C34, and C40. However, we found that he did C10.5 as well. Woerlee also decorates larger ovals, such as OL17x25, OL19x25, OL20x38, OL22x34, and OL24x44. Many samples of his work feature in our Windmill Series gallery, and one of his round medallions C20 is shown on our How to recognize page, next to a less common Verwoerd piece. As Woerlee did not change his style much during the time he painted for Verwoerd, his work can easily be recognized. A give away is that the diagonal brace of the windmill - i.e. one of the braces that support the cap of the mill when it is rotated - has about the same angle as the roof of the farmhouse in front of the mill. Apart from windmill landscapes Woerlee painted most of the sailing boats produced by the Verwoerd workshop, and again mostly on larger models, such as C34 (225 pcs), C40 (219 pcs), and OL24x44 (161 pcs). He did other models as well, but not more than a dozen or so of each size. The pictures show a typical Woerlee windmill, several of his surprisingly varied ships, and a sample of his "Delfts" signature. If you're not sure how to pronounce the name Piet Woerlee, think of that famous lute piece by J.S. Bach - the Bourrée in e-minor - and say Pete Wourlée.
 


Ms A.J. Gaasenbeek

Adri Gaasenbeek is one of the first young women to follow the 2-year pottery course at the Gouda Technical School during the years 1952-1954. In 1954 she starts as a painter's apprentice with the Verwoerd workshop. She proves to be quite talented, and although she decides for a totally different career as soon as mid 1955, her production as a trainee has been non-negligible. All-in-all she decorates approximately 4000 pieces of the model C10.5mm. Her windmills are being mostly in the centre or slightly on the right half of the medallion, generally showing a slimly shaped mill crowned with an almost triangular cap. The insert shows several samples of her "Delfts" signature.
 


A.G. de Kruyf

Ton de Kruyf (Gouda 1926) has worked amongst others for "Kunstaardewerkfabriek Regina" and "Plateelbakkerij Tiko", both in Gouda. In the 1950's he takes painting lessons with Jan Schouten, then curator of the Catharina Gasthuis Museum in Gouda. It is Schouten who suggests that he contact Verwoerd who is hiring talented Delft painters. As a result De Kruyf works as a free lance Delft painter for the Verwoerd workshop during the years 1955-56. Thereafter he moves to Leiden to become a high school Art Teacher. His production for Verwoerd consists mostly of smaller sizes, such as OL10x20, RP10x15, and RL9x14.5. The large round C34 medallion shown below is one of his test samples, and is a fine illustration of his skills. In the smaller cabochons we have seen, the design seems to mirror that of De Jong. The farmhouse is usually left of the windmill, and the right hand horizon has the suggestion of a small windmill seen "in profile" with it wings facing the center of the picture. What also helps is that Ton de Kruyf's signature is distinctly different from that of the other decorators. The inserts show some of the signatures we found. In addition, both the C34 sample and the bracelet pictured above have a curved brake cord. This is the rope that runs from the horizontal brake pole at the top of the windmill to the ground level. However, we have seen several samples without this feature. (Bracelet picture courtesy 'Audreystime'.)
 

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