Verwoerd Ceramics Online
How to recognize a Verwoerd?
Never rely on written assurances like "Genuine Delft" or "hand painted". Study the object carefully, and draw your own conclusions. Step one is to distinguish between hand painted and printed. From left to right, the first example below is a cabochon shape made of plastic. The windmill pattern that is sunk into the medallion has been rubbed in with a blue dye. Next is a pair of screen printed Japanese Delftware glass disks. The third example is a pair of transfer printed ceramic medallions. Indeed, the simplest way to spot printed ware is by comparing two samples, e.g. earrings, or cufflinks, or two pictures on the internet. If they are fully identical - except for glitches during the application process - they are not hand painted.
Below are three more examples of printed Delftware. This is how transfer printing is done. The image to be multiplied and transferred is engraved on a copper plate, which is inked and printed on a paper-like carrier. The transfer prints are then applied to unglazed bisque, i.e. a ceramic that has been fired once. Next the objects are glazed and fired again. The image is now permanently fixed to the ceramic. Another method is screen printing in which a stencil design is carried by a screen of silk or a similar fine mesh, after which the paint is forced through the mesh onto the ceramic. As the original design may have been larger than the final picture, there are often details that could not easily have been painted by hand, such as the thin firm lines of the sailing ships, and the thin lining of the farmhouse roof. The number of colors or shades used is often limited. The shades in the canal of the middle picture have been added manually to suggest hand painting. Sometimes there is a pattern of small dots, as in the enlarged flower detail on the right.
We would not go as far as suggesting that hand painted is identical to beautiful. And as beauty belongs to the eye of the beholder, we will simply point out what is going on in the hand painted examples below. The most left sample has a coarse kind of blue that has few nuances. The sample far right is rich in blue shades, but poor in telling what it exactly is that is depicted. The sample in the middle has a fair bit of both. Other hand painted samples from the same makers may exist that are less extreme. These examples have been chosen for educational purposes only.
All hand painted items below are from the Verwoerd Ceramics Studio, and all but one are Verwoerd paintings. They show the development from the early 50's to the mid 70's. From left to right, medallions 1-4 are early samples. They feature many details, such as a farmhouse, a flagpole on the cap of the windmill, and birds in the sky. In addition the oval medallion has a rare haystack. Item 3 is from a painter by the name of Piet Woerlee (1886-1963), who has worked for the Verwoerd workshop from 1953 to 1956. Sample 4 is an identical size and period (c.1954) by Verwoerd. This comparison is interesting because Verwoerd met Woerlee in 1937 at Plateelbakkerij Schoonhoven, where the experienced Delft painter became his mentor. Items 5 and 6 are later samples from the 60's through the mid 70's, in which for reasons of efficiency many details have been left out. They remain, however, aesthetically well balanced. What all samples have in common is a very recognizable painterly quality, in which the scenery is suggested by visible brush strokes, much like an accomplished watercolor painting. For other, and more varied samples see our Windmill Series gallery.
The Verwoerd medallions were initially rubber stamped "Delfts", short for "Delfts Blauw" (Blue Delft). The word Delfts is shown in an oval cartouche featuring a fan of three short stripes in a gap at the top. This mark is known as the Three Stones signature. As soon as the early 50's, however, it proved to be more efficient to paint the stones signature by hand. The sample that has "Holland" added is quite rare. Next the three stones disappear, probably around 1953/54. The typical Verwoerd signature can often be identified by the long straight stroke representing the letter "f". In the 60's and the 70's most medallions are not signed at all, and we have to revert to other distinguishing features. Samples 2 and 4 show the reverse of items 2 en 4 above. For more signatures on Delft jewelry see our Compact Guide To Delft Jewelry Signatures