Delft Tiles Get a Playful, and Sometimes Raunchy, Update

A broad-shouldered farmer, scythe in hand, gazes out over a field of asparagus. At first, the young man, subtly veined with craquelure and rendered in cobalt blue on a tin-glazed ceramic Delft tile, appears to have come from the 17th or 18th century, when more than 800 million such tiles, often bearing similar pastoral sketches, were produced in Holland. But on closer inspection, there are differences: This cropper is shirtless, his backside a bit too pert, and the stalks of asparagus growing from the ground are, in fact, penises. Made in 2019 by the 54-year-old British artist Paul Bommer — who has also worked phallic imagery into tiles variously depicting what might be initially mistaken for a kite in ancient China, a prize squash and chickens being fed by an old lady — the provocative scene reflects a larger rediscovery of Delft-style tiles by a new generation of history-upending ceramists.

Related Articles

Latest Posts