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Lawrence Steigrad Fine Arts

Jan Philip van Thielen

Flowers in a Raeren Stoneware Vase

signed and dated I. P. Van. THIELEN. F. ANO. 1660 on the vase

19.69 x 15.75 inches (50 x 40 cm.)


Jan Philip van Thielen’s father was Libertus van Thielen, Lord of Couwenberg and his mother was Anna Rigouldts. In 1631 he was apprenticed to his brother-in-law Theodoor Rombouts in Antwerp and later to Daniël Seghers. In 1639 he married Francesca de Hemelaer the sister-in-law of Erasmus Quellinus II in Antwerp. Of their nine children, Van Thielen taught three daughters to paint: Maria Theresia, Anna Maria and Francisca Catharina. In 1641 he joined the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke as a master painter, and upon his return to Mechelen in 1660 its guild.[1]

He worked most often collaboratively with Erasmus Quellinus II, Frans Francken II and Cornelis Schut, painting cartouches of flowers for their figurative works. His own known flower pieces are dated from 1641 to 1667, examples of which can be found in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 1641; the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dunkerque, 1651; the Alte Pinakothek, Munich with three examples from 1651, 1662 and 1663; and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1665.[2]

In these works, roses tend to dominate the composition[3], but here Van Thielen has chosen a mixture of flowers placed in a Raeren stoneware vase produced in the village of Raeren, Belgium which had become popular in the sixteenth century continuing into the seventeenth. The best pieces were for export and the Dutch East India Company shipped pots and jugs to Africa, Asia, America and Australia. The vase shown in this painting features the work of the “Formenstechers” (mold engravers) who were specialized craftsmen skilled in carving reliefs in clay which were then attached to the pot. Subjects of the relief ranged from biblical to the antique, but also popular were images of dancing peasants as depicted in this panel. Known as a boerendanskruiken (peasant dancing jar) it shows dancing pairs of farmers, a bagpiper and horn player between arches and caryatids.[4]  Known examples have bands of descriptive text below these scenes, and Van Thielen has ingeniously used this space for his signature and date.

We would like to thank Floris van Alebeek of the Het Noordbrabants Museum, ‘s-Hertogenbosch for pointing out the significance of the boerendanskruiken from Raeren; as well as Dr. Fred G. Meijer for confirming the painting after viewing as a work by Jan Philip van Thielen.

[1] Sam Segal and Klara Alen, “Jan Philip van Thielen” in Dutch and Flemish Flower Pieces, volume I, Brill, Hes & De Graaf, Leiden, 2020, p. 561.

[2] Ibid, p. 651.

[3] Ibid, p. 651.

[4] Daniel Berde, “The Rise and Fall of Raeren Stoneware” on, August 6, 2022.