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Buying Delftware

De Porceleyne Fles. It's corny, even sometimes a little tacky (miniature clogs, anyone?), but no visit to Delft would be complete without stopping at a Delft porcelain factory to see plates and tulip vases being painted by hand and perhaps picking up a souvenir or two. De Porceleyne Fles is the original and most famous home to the popular blue-and-white pottery. Regular demonstrations of molding and painting pottery are given by the artisans. On the bottom of each object is a triple signature: a plump vase topped by a straight line, the stylized letter "F" below it, and the word "Delft." Blue is no longer the only official color. In 1948, a rich red cracked glaze was premiered depicting profuse flowers, graceful birds, and leaping gazelles. There is New Delft, a range of green, gold, and black hues, whose exquisite minuscule figures are drawn to resemble an old Persian tapestry; the Pynacker Delft, borrowing Japanese motifs in rich oranges and golds; and the brighter Polychrome Delft, which can strike a brilliant sunflower-yellow effect. Royal Delftware Factory, Rotterdamseweg 196, Delft, 2628 AR. 015/251–2030. www.royaldelft.com. museum €12. mid-Mar.–Oct., daily 9–5; Nov.–mid-Mar., Mon.–Sat. 9–5.

De Delftse Pauw. Another favorite place for picking up Delftware is at the pottery factories of De Delftse Pauw, which, although not as famous as De Porceleyne Fles, produce work of equally high quality. Delftweg 133, Delft, 2289 BD. 015/212–4920. www.delftpottery.com. free tours. Apr.–Oct., daily 9–4:30; Nov.–Mar., weekdays 9–4:30, weekend 11–1.

De Candelaer. De Candelaer is a smaller pottery, and its city-center location makes it a convenient stop-off for comparisons of Delftware with other craftsmanship available in Delft. Kerkstraat 14, Delft, 2611 GX. 015/213-1848. www.candelaer.nl.

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