The delicate eggshell china produced by the Dutch manufacturer Rozenburg takes appealingly unconventional forms and exudes an ethereal allure. The ornamental decor is inspired by Javanese batik as well as Japanese woodcuts and incorporates flora and fauna motifs in rich color schemes.
An eight-sided vase rises up from a square base in an angular form typical for the heyday of the Rozenburg company (1900–04). The lotus motif dominates the composition, draped across the vase’s four flat sides in several variations. On the featherweight soft-paste, or eggshell, china, the thick lotus stems are rendered as finely dotted lines on which the heavy blooms seem to balance delicately while almost provocatively flaunting their inner life. This style of ornament was influenced by Javanese batik as well as Japanese woodcuts, as evidenced for example by the pointillist planes of color that structure the background.On the initiative of Wolf von Gutenberg, a manufactory was established in 1883 at the Rozenburg country house in The Hague. There, Gutenberg—a former porcelain decorator in Delft—sought to introduce his own brand of the typical Delft blue and white painting. Under the guidance of the trained architect Jurriaan Kok as artistic director and in cooperation with the chemist M. N. Engelen, the transition to artistic porcelain arrived in 1899. The new material could be cast in hitherto unimaginable shapes, resulting in a translucent yet sturdy end product. The angular design served to prevent the collapse of the vessels when they were fired at high temperatures. Rozenburg had its breakthrough immediately after the company presented its products at the Paris International Exposition in 1900, but its fortunes ebbed again after 1914 due to the high prices of the ornate pieces. The factory closed its doors in 1917. (Sabine Flaschberger)