The pottery underneath is usually red or brown earthenware. Delft pottery received its name from the factory which it originated in the 17th century in Delft, Netherlands, however, delft style is also applied to wares of similar nature made in 17th & 18th centuries in London, Bristol, and Liverpool.
"Taken from a house in Middelsburg, Holland. Said to be 250 years old. Given by Mrs Victor Ross to Mrs R.S McLaughlin, Xmas 1939"Noting the interesting claim of provenance, but also the deteriorating backing, I set about to take action on researching the history of these tiles and preserving the written note, in Adelaide McLaughlin's handwriting.
What did I learn about the delft tiles within our collection? Lets take a look at the inscription once again.
"Taken from a house in Middelsburg, Holland. Said to be 250 years old. Given by Mrs Victor Ross to Mrs R.S McLaughlin, Xmas 1939"
Taken from a house is Middelsburg & said to be 250 years old- the Parkwood delft tiles are not vivid blue and white, but rather purple brown manganese. The use of purple brown manganese for delft came into vogue in the 18th century and was widely used for tiles portraying biblical figures. Purple Brown Manganese delft tiles most often originate in the Bristol factories. Date, 250 years old in 1939- maybe an exaggeration by a few years.(??)
Originating in Middelsburg?- Middelsburg is reknowned for delftware, but actually did not have a huge part in manufacturing the tiles. This is a legend that may stay a legend, as I cannot prove or disprove any further.
Who was Mrs Victor Ross- this was a wonderful curatorial discovery, from my perspective.
Victor Ross, originally from Walkerton, Ontario, went from financial editor of the Globe to becoming the VP of Standard Oil in 1919. In 1922, now living in New Jersey, Mr. & Mrs. Ross purchased a summer home in Pickering Village, Clarendon Woods, a 18 bedroom English country style manor, originally built and owned by Lord Hyde and Lord Somers.
Readers may recognise the property today, as the Manresa Retreat of the Jesuit Brothers.
When Victor Ross died, he was President of Standard Oil and Vice President of International Petroleum, a likely friend and guest of the McLaughlin Family, and giver of delft tile gifts in 1939.