Boch Frères Keramis antique handpainted Delft blue style 'calabash' vase


Shipping to United States: $31.34

Medium sized (26 cm high) handpainted Delft style vase made between 1874 and 1900 by Boch Frères Keramis in La Louvière, Belgium. This type of vase is called a "calabash vase" or "gourd vase", which is a shape based on eastern type of vases. The vase is octagonal (eight-sided) and is decorated in various shades of blue painted on a white tin-glaze. The decoration is symmetrical on four sides and consist of cartouches (panels) filled with various leaf and flower ornaments and lattice patterns. The painting is very well done, very precise and consistent. The vase is fully glazed on the inside.

The vase is signed at the bottom with a handpainted BFK (Boch Frères Keramis) mark, with below it the number "189" and the monogram "JH". The number 56 is as far as we know the decor number, while the JH monogram is the painter's signature. Next to the BFK mark there is an additional number "99/1". Of this "99" is the vase model number. The /1 probably indicates the size (with other sizes of the same model being marked as /2 or /3 respectively). Impressed in the clay we again find the number "99".

This vase was produced in the famous "Chambre des Peintres Hollandais" of Boch Frères Keramis (now Royal Boch) in La Louvière, Belgium. This was a special chamber at the BFK factory where handpainted Delft style ceramics were made in the best of Dutch traditions by Dutch painters hired from the Netherlands (from Delft and Maastricht). To whom the painter's signature "JH" exactly belongs is unknown to us, but it is likely to be a member of the Heemskerk family, who were among the first Dutch painters to start painting at BFK.

The handpainted ceramics of the "Chambre des Peintres" was oriented towards the more wealthy customers, in addition to the main lines of ceramics from the factory which were produced for the more general public, in an industrial manner using transfer (printing) techniques.

Condition: excellent, as new, which is remarkable for a vase over 100 years old. There are no damages, cracks, hairlines or restorations. There is no visible wear to the glaze, which has a beautiful gloss and shows no crazing. The colours are beautiful and strong.

A beautiful and sturdy classic Delft style vase in perfect condition. Great for decoration. This vase will fit into a variety of interiors, from classic to modern.

Made by: Boch Frères Keramis (Royal Boch)

Place of manufacture: La Louvière, Belgium

Year of manufacture: between 1874 - 1900

Method of decoration: handpainted (tin-glaze)

Size: height 26,0 cm, diameter 12,0 cm. Capacity: 0,8 litre.

Weight: 660 g

Additional pictures of the object can be provided if required.


About Boch Frères Keramis (Royal Boch):

In 1844 the brothers Eugène and Victor Boch started a ceramic factory in La Louvière, in the mid-south of Belgium. The brothers were from the Boch family which also owned large ceramic factories in Germany and Luxembourg, under the famous name of Villeroy and Boch. The factory in La Louvière produced decorative ceramics and tableware in a variety of styles using transfer printing techniques (copperplate engravings transferred to ceramics).

Around 1874 the factory also started to produce fine handpainted ceramics in Delft style by hiring Dutch painters from the Netherlands. These Delft style pieces are signed with a handpainted mark which is a combination of the letters B F K. These products are known as products from the "Chambre des Peintres Hollandais" (the Dutch painters chamber). In addition to these Delft style pieces several other styles of handpainted ceramics were also made (in various French, Persian and Chinese styles), but these products have a different mark.

The production of the "Chambre des Peintres" ended somewhere around 1900, and the factory continued with production of transfer printed pieces (also in Delft style) and ceramics in Art Nouveau and later also Art Deco styles. From 1920 onwards the factory became well known for its high-quality pieces of the designer Charles Catteau, and later also Raymond Chevallier.

Like many other ceramic factories, Boch Frères Keramis during the sixties and seventies struggled to keep production profitable, facing a strong rise in labour costs. In 1985 the company went bankrupt and was liquidated. From 1985 to 2009 the ownership of the factory passed through several hands and production activities were reduced or split off. Since 2009 a new owner is active who tries to bring new life into the factory and to continue the legacy of the BFK brand. More information can be found on the website


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Second, don't clean them too often! Underglaze painted Gouda and Delftware can be perfectly cleaned with water if necessary, but often just dusting them off or polishing them up a bit with a soft dry cloth is enough. Overglaze painted items should not be cleaned too often.
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