The Tulipiere and a Visit to Delft
I had to have a tulipiere! Just had to. But the one that I wanted…the largest one in the Delft store, which looked like a tall pyramid and had probably over 50 flower spouts, was close to $50,000. So I had clearly lost my mind. But hold on…I’m starting in the middle of the story. Let me start at the beginning.
A couple of years ago, Robert and I joined some dear friends for a once in a lifetime European trip on a luxury barge (just 12 of us!) from Bruges to Amsterdam. Every port along the way was magical, and we so enjoyed the company, the fabulous food, and the days filled with touring places we had always wanted to see. However, despite the fact that we had been presented with an itinerary of our journey before we purchased the trip, the captain was very accommodating to the individual tastes of every traveler. Each night he asked us if we wanted to change our plans, visit a place that was not on our itinerary, or skip some of the pre-planned stops.
During one of these conversations, I remember hearing some talk about whether or not we should visit Delft, the city famous for its blue design porcelain. Well, in case you don’t know this about me, I’m a china fanatic. I have more beautiful dishes than I need, but, like my plants, I love them all – and many of them have been passed down to me by women in my family so they have a sentimental value as well.
In any case, when I heard other shipmates talking about whether or not we would stop in Delft, I said (out loud!), “Visiting Delft is the only reason that I agreed to this trip, so I’m stopping in Delft no matter what anyone else does.” (My husband cringed.) Ok. I might have exaggerated a little bit. But the general sentiment was quite true. I really wanted to visit the Delft porcelain factory AND GIFT SHOP!!!
And so, I got my way. Don’t judge. I know I’m spoiled. (I don’t think my shipmates minded too much!) It was the highlight of my trip!
Delft porcelain has a long and glorious history. Too much for me to elaborate here. Suffice to say that the production of Delft porcelain began in the 1500’s and continues today. By the 1800’s Delftware porcelain, which was decorated in blue on a white background, was very popular among the Dutch, and soon gained world wide fame. You might like to check out the Delft website to see all the gorgeous examples of Delft for sale. I began browsing the website before I wrote this today, and it really delayed my start time. BUT I did NOT buy anything!!!
The Delft Porcelain Factory offers a Delft Museum, a Delft Factory Tour, and the most exquisite Gift Shop. It was in the museum that I saw the pyramid tulipiere, and I was smitten.
A tulipiere is a vase, for tulips (or any flower really) with multiple spouts for the flowers. There are many shapes for tulipieres, round, box-like, flat, -- but you can’t top the pyramid tulipiere.
Once we got to the gift shop, and I saw the price, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. It was sooo much money, that I didn’t feel bad about not being able to purchase it…but I still couldn’t leave without some kind of tulipiere.
There are two parts to the gift shop – one side has the hand painted porcelain, very pricey, and of course, gorgeous. The other side has mass produced pieces, probably not hand painted, but still looking very Delft-y. That’s the tulipiere that I got. The mass produced Delft-y looking kind. And I love it!!!! I keep it on my table all the time, and when I have special occasions, I buy fresh tulips.
When spring rolls around again, I am looking forward to using it for my own tulips. Even in Delft land, I’m thinking about my garden.