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Armorial / Pseudo-Armorial wares 1700-1800 - Armorial - Dutch


Object 2012191


Teacup and saucer






Height of teacup 29 mm (1.14 inch), diameter of rim 56 mm (2.20 inch), diameter of footring 25 mm (0.98 inch), weight 21 grams (0.74 ounce (oz.))

Height of saucer 18 mm (0.70 inch), diameter of rim 88 mm (3.46 inch), diameter of footring 50 mm (1.97 inch), weight 23 grams (0.81 ounce (oz.))


Teacup and saucer on footrings, sixfold scalloped rims. Decorated in various overglaze black, gold, blue and green enamels, iron-red and gold with a coat of arms round the rim a lozenge diaper border in gold on a rouge de fer ground with a flowerbud-like or early spearhead border. On the reverse rim three groups of flower sprays with antiquities and round the rim a regular spearhead motif border. The teacup is decorated en suite.


The coat of arms shows: 

Sable, on a chevron d’or three azure fleur-de-lys, above with two severed lion’s heads with red tongues facing each other and below a lion’s head facing forward with a ring in its mouth, all in gold. Two leopards as shield bearers, holding a crown. (in Dutch: in zwart een lage keper beladen met drie blauwe lelies, boven vergezeld van twee toegewende afgerukte leeuwenkoppen, rood getongd en beneden van een aanziende leeuwenkop, rood getongd, alles goud)


The Dutch coat of arms on this teacup and saucer are unidentified and unrecorded in literature (including J. Kroes’ Dutch armorial porcelain) until now. They belong to the ‘De la Faille’ family (also written: del la/della Faille).  




Coat of arms de la /del la/della Faille family, drawing, HxW…inch,138 mm (4.43 inch) x 126 mm (4.96 inch) © Antiquariaat /antiquarian bookshop Van der Steur, Haarlem, the Netherlands.


The De la Faille family has its origin in Antwerp and already traded on the Levant in 1540, with some of its family members taking up residence in Venice. The family can still be found in Belgium today (until 1831 the southern part of the Netherlands) and belongs to the Belgian nobility.  

The family split when after the fall of the city of Antwerp in 1585 some Protestant members emigrated to the Netherlands, more precise to Haarlem, Dordrecht and Leiden. In the late 17th century the family also took residence in the city of Delft. 

Because of their prominence in Delft and Delft being one of the VOC Chambers, further research was done on these members of the De la Faille family. 


The Delft connection starts with Bernardus de la Faille, who resided in The Hague (Dutch: Den Haag) nearby Delft; he was an accountant for the Stadtholder Maurice of Orange. He married Elisabeth Camerling from Delft in 1618.


His son, Johan del la Faille (1628-1713) already became a member of the City Council (Dutch: vroedschap) in Delft. As a supporter of stadtholder William III of Orange, he was appointed in 1672, the Year of Disaster after the First Stadtholderless Period, when the Dutch Republic was under threat of an invasion by the troops of King Louis XIV of France. He was also bailiff (Dutch: Schout) in Delft between 1680 and 1713. Johan de la Faille owned a famous curiosity cabinet, which was started by his grandfather and father, mainly consisting of sea shells as well as birds, Roman coins and medals, tapestries and paintings and interestingly also porcelains.




Portrait of Johan de la Faille(1628-1713), 1680s, member of the City Council (vroedschap) and Bailiff (schout) of Delft, Oil on copper, H x W 6 1/4 x 12 inch (41.3 x 30.5 cm),Jan Verkolje, signed on the butt of the rifle: Jan Verkolye 168(?)

© 2018 Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art, Hartford Connecticut, US, object-id: 1982.36


Johan de la Faille married on 28th of January 1671 with Anna Margaretha Delff (1647–1715). The couple had four children: Johan Bernard, Cornelis, Abraham and Elisabeth.


His second son Cornelis (1674-1730) was the centre of an interesting story. In 1730 he became involved in the so-called ‘Sodomite Hysteria’ (Dutch: Sodomietenhysterie) in the Netherlands. Cornelis was homosexual, but in the elite circles of the time this was usually handled reasonably open-minded.

In 1730 however the Dutch Republic had just experienced an epizootic disease in its cattle population, while its dikes were threatened by shipworm. These circumstances had readied the minds of the Dutch for moral panics fuelled by Protestant preachers, because they saw this as evidence of God's wrath against homosexuals. This dangerous mind-set and an already present aversion against the clique of city rulers was pretty suddenly canalized in a violent outbreak of hate against homosexuals, which started in the city of Utrecht, after which a nationwide wave of prosecutions ensued. In a series of pamphlets and veil gossip a whole network of homosexual members of city councils across several Dutch cities, including the locations of the public houses they met, was outed and vilified. The government, pressured by the public outrage, now felt compelled to act.

Dozens of men were condemned to the gallows or drowned, and their remains were burned or casted into the sea, which attests to the dangerous atmosphere at the time. 




Engraving, 180 mm (7.09 inch) x 280 mm (11.02 inch), 1730; Allegory, showing Justice in the centre, ‘glorified by the discovery of …severe Sin.’ [Dutch: ‘De geregtigheid verheerlijkt door het ontdekken der hooggaande zonde’].To the left an angel holding a banner showing the Biblical text ‘Men desisting from natural relations with women,’ Romans 1:27 [Dutch: ‘Mannen nalatende het gebruik der vrouwen’, Romeinen 1:27]. Time lifts the curtain to reveal homosexual gentlemen; the four chained women to their right represent Fornication, Lust, Avarice and Wantonness. On the background the cities of Sodom and Gomorra burning. 

© National Prison Museum, Veenhuizen, the Netherlands, inv. nr. 05417645X


In Delft three ‘suspects’ were arrested. Fortunately, prime suspect Cornelis de la Faille had fled town just in time. He was convicted in absentia and all his possessions, including a large townhouse (Oude Delft 124), inherited from his mother, were confiscated.  

Cornelis died in 1730 of natural causes; the family de la Faille however did not accept Cornelis’ conviction and started a trial at the High Court of Holland to regain their family possessions. When the homophobia finally died down the family won the court proceedings arguing that it was  first and foremost a family affair in which the courts had no say at all, an argument which the court, consisting of fellow city elite members, was highly sensitive of. 


Cornelis died in 1730 and his brothers Johan Bernard and Abraham both in 1729, which makes it unlikely any of them ordered this tea-and coffee set with their coat of arms, because this cup and saucer can actually be dated quite precisely due to the interesting fact that - apart from the coat of arms - it is identical  to cups and saucers from the well-known Valckenier armorial tea- and coffee service, ordered by governor-general Adriaan Valckenier, dated 1735-38.


The back and sides of a Valckenier teacup and saucer, which further confirms that it is completely identical with de la Faille, are never shown, therefore an few rare pictures are also included in this description.

It is because of these never visible verte enamels in this part of the decoration, this Valckenier tea- and coffee service has sometimes been described in the past as ‘famille verte’ [Corbeiller 1974, p.88].


Kop_en_schotel_2Kopje_gelobd_zijkant1 Schoteltje_achter


Teacup and saucer with the arms of Valckenier, c. 1735-38, cup H.3,7 cm (inch),D. 6,7 cm(inch), saucer 10,7 cm (inch), Private Collection, the Netherlands. (not included in this sale)


For more background information about this Valckenier tea-and coffee set, please see:

For more information about other Valckenier armorial services in general, please see:

The similarity with Valckenier of course begs the question whether there could be any connection between the two families. Further research revealed no family connection (e.g. through marriage). However, it became clear that at the same time Adriaan Valckenier was in Batavia, there were also at least two members of the De la Faille family present as part of the government of the Dutch Indies, working directly with him.


In 1701 Cornelis’ elder brother Johan Bernard (1672-1729) married with Anna Catharina van Heemskerck (1676-1723); the couple had no less than 8 children. One of Johan Bernard’s children was Bernard Jacob de la Faille (1709-1746), who went to Batavia in 1731 aboard the VOC ship ‘Spiering’ as a member of the Council of Justice (Dutch: Raad van Justitie) in Batavia [source:] He married Marie Gosewine in 1732. 


Another was Mr. Cornelis Coenraad de la Faille (1710-1744), merchant and First Keeper of the Storage Rooms (Dutch: koopman en dispensier Provisiekamer) in Batavia in 1736. Presumably around that same time he married Magdalena Clara van Schagen, the daughter of Joan Paul van Schagen (1689-1746), who became director-general of the Indies in 1737, at the same time Adriaan Valckenier became governor-general. The couple had two daughters. 

[source: Wijnaendts van Resandt, W., De gezaghebbers der Oost-Indische Compagnie op hare buiten-comptoiren in Azië, Amsterdam 1944, pp. 68-69] 


Both De la Faille brothers could have ordered armorial porcelain because of their significant VOC functions in Batavia. The most likely of the two in this case however would be Cornelis Coenraad, because of his stronger connection to Adriaan Valckenier through his spouse whose father worked directly alongside Valckenier. Another indication could be the oval shape of the shield, which usually (although not exclusively) points to a married woman. Perhaps he ordered this armorial tea service when he married Magadalena van Schagen? 


All in all, this hereto unknown Dutch armorial cup and saucer provides a fascinating view not only into the De la Faille family history, but also into Dutch and Batavian history and the high society of the time.


Condition teacup: some frits and fleabites to the rim

Condition saucer: a short hairline to the rim. 



Bos, G., Naamboekje van de wel. ed. heeren der Hooge Indische Regeeringe, gequalificeerde persoonen, enz. en bedienden op Batavia: mitsgaders de respective gouverneurs, directeurs, commandeurs en opperhoofden op de buiten comptoiren van Nederl. India, zoo als dezelve in wezen zyn bevonden in January ... : als meede alle de Gouverneurs Generaal zedert het jaar 1610 : nevens de hooge en mindere collegien en bedienden op Suriname, Volume 10, Amsterdam 1739, p. 15:

Ferwerda, A., Nederlandsch geslacht-stam-en wapen-boek,: waarin voorkomen de voornaamste adelyke en aanzienlyke familiën in de zeven vereenigde provinciën; opgemaakt uit oude en echte gedenkstukken, Amsterdam 1785, vol. 1, pp.37-46:

De Nederlandsche Leeuw, jaargang 15 (1897), p. 191

Corbeiller 1974, pp. 86-88, no. 34, figs. 46-47

Kroes 2007, cat. 32 t/m 36, cat. 78,cat. 96 t/m 101

Wijnaendts van Resandt 1944, pp. 68-69


Price: € 1.499 - $ 1.691 - £ 1.346

(the $ and £ prices are approximates and depend on the € price exchange rate)


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