The Regina Factory 1898 - 1979
This article is by our dear friend Joop Nobel, one of the world's leading experts on Regina pottery and Dutch ceramics in general. We are indebted to him for it and for his continued support of the site. Included here are some photographs and descriptions of Regina from Joop and Ria's private collection. Joop's wife Ria was an artist for Regina.
In 1885 Pieter Jacobus van der Want died. He was the great grandson of the founder of the family concern van der Want. In the same year his sons Otto and Gerrit Frederik took over and with the sister factory Hollandia, also a van der Want factory, they produced enamelled clay pipes.
In 1898 our Queen Wilhelmina was crowned. The Regina factory was founded in the same year and took the name Regina - a queen among the art pottery factories was born.
With the Belgian antiques dealer George Anthonie Barras, a new era in the art pottery history began.
In 1915 the factory started with the production of art pottery. Two years later, the Rozenburg factory in the Hague went bankrupt. Regina bought the old Rozenburg moulds and several Rozenburg artists came to Gouda to work for Regina. Among them was Leendert Hakker. From the Zuid-Holland company came Steef Boers and Gouke Bonsel who became one of the most famous designers of Regina. He worked from 1915-1956 at the Regina factory. The Lydia pattern was one of his designs.
Other famous designers were Jaap Gidding, Janus Remiëns, E.G.C. Schubad, Willem de Vries, Maarten Witte van Leeuwen, and Floris Meydam.
Jaap Gidding (1887-1955) designed the famous art deco vases, for example the Neo pattern in 1925-1926.
Janus Remiëns and E. Schubad designed the figurines in the 1930s. At the present time, these figurines are very rare.
Maarten Witte van Leeuwen and Floris Meydam were the designers of dinner-services, cups and saucers, sugar and cream sets and several vases in the 1950s-1960s.
Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3 Picture 4 For picture descriptions click here
In the early years the glossy patterns were very popular. Most of them were formed in the old Rozenburg moulds but Regina also had their own. Famous old glossy patterns are "Cordoba", "Robur", "Olga" and the "Uni" pattern of which "Robur" and "Olga" were produced for the Australian and South American market. These patterns were not interesting enough for the European market.
Patterns "Olga" and "Robur" (early 1920's) were probably inspired by the designs of T.A.C. Colenbrander, who worked at the Rozenburg factory and later at the Zuid-Holland factory.
The "Uni" patterns were very popular. In my collection I have examples of three different "Uni" patterns, namely "Uni", "Uni2" and "Uni3". These are all different from each other. There are also old glossy patterns with very mysterious names. What do you think of these -"M.D.", "J.D.", "R.D.", "F.D". and "R.O". The letters are not abbreviations of the decorator or designer but real pattern names!
After the Art Nouveau period came the Art Deco period, with the matte designs. "Rosario", the most famous design of Steef A. Boers was made until 1979. Even after the Regina period, when Regina Bleiswijk (Wotra) took over the old factory. Even this factory does not exist anymore. Famous matte patterns are "Lydia", "Rosario", "Majoli", "Orchis" and many, many others.
These pattern have an Oriental leaning, such as "Teheran", "Luxor", "Kastor" and "Osiris". There are, of course, numerous more names to mention. Sometimes the designer would name a design after an event that took place somewhere in the world or even one of the employees was mentioned.
The artist Jan Signer named his design "Tibon" after Tinie Gibbon, a female colleague of his.
"Tibon" decor mark.
Picture 5 Picture 6 Picture 7 For picture descriptions click here
In the mid 1920's there were about 90 people working for Regina, of which 40 to 50 were painters. Gouke Bonsel was artistic director and under his animated leadership, Regina became a prosperous company. He designed the glossy dark floral patterns. Other painters were Leendert Hakker, who came from Rozenburg, Jan W. van Schaik and Aart Stolk. Of course there were many more but it would be too much to mention them all.
During the 1920's -1930's, the matte patterns became very popular. This so called Gouds mat had the most variety. "Lydia" (by Gouke Bonsel) and "Rosario" (by Steef Boers), are the most well known patterns. After 1935 the Delft period began when many pieces were painted in the typical Delfts blue and red patterns, however, the matte designs and even the glossy uni patterns were painted until the end came in 1979. Decorators from the later period after WW2 included Henk Meilof (Delfts red), Henk van Wensveen (Poly Delfts), Peter van der Kroef, Jan Gouka, Joop de Jong and Ria Nobel. (Ria happens to be my wife).
Sometimes when you look on the internet, people offer vases, wall plates and so on painted by these artists and the seller proclaims "made in the early 1920's or 1930's". So be very careful when you purchase Regina!
On every object you can see the name Regina and WB, mostly with a crown but sometimes even without a crown. I have seen hundreds of examples of Regina pottery and I have discovered three types of crown. The first and in my opinion the oldest mark, is the stencilled crown. This crown is not painted, it is thick and black filled. The second is the so called Gravenkroon which is the type of crown an Earl would wear. After 1935, the last type is used, the Keizerskroon or Emperors crown. This mark had a cross on top of it and was used until the factory closed in 1979.
This Regina mark from the 1960 to 1970 period, is painted by Henk van Wensveen who only painted Polydelfts during his time at Regina. The mark is from a wall plate of his. My wife Ria worked with him so they were colleagues. Sadly Henk van Wensveen died several years ago.
There are models without a crown and without the WB initials. They have just the word Regina (some even without Regina), occasional decor name, mould number and the decorators symbol. Mostly found on clogs, small vases, egg cups and other small items.
Picture 8 Picture 9 Picture 10 For picture descriptions click here
In the beginning, around 1915-1917, the production of traditional models took place. Very popular were clogs, candle-sticks, flowerpots, inkwells and smokers sets. Some of the Rozenburg models (for instance number 57 - a two handled vase) were used with a new pattern. In her great book The World of Gouda Pottery, Phyllis Ritvo says that the oldest model she could find was a ewer in the "Chryso" pattern with mould number 46. I have an original model book of Regina pottery where the lowest number is a clog with number 1. The highest number I have seen is 2226 on a little vase in the "Tibon" pattern.
Here is something funny to tell about the designing of the models. Occasionally, when they needed a new model, the designer took an old number such as 322 (a vase without handles) and put two handles on it. He then had a new model, a vase similar to 322 but with two handles! It then became number 322/1. For instance, look at model numbers 231, 132 and 231/1.
Picture 11 Picture 12 For picture descriptions click here
In 1979 Regina finally closed the doors. This was one of the oldest pottery factories in Gouda and in my opinion one of the best. For instance, make a comparison with the glaze used by other potteries. The glaze on Regina pottery from c.1917-1920 is still as new. It is a real high quality pottery. I know from stories told to me by the still living employees, that once a week they destroyed the pieces not good enough to sell. Just a tiny flea bite in the glaze was reason enough to destroy it.
There is much more to say - but it would be impossible to tell all in this article.
One day I hope to write a book about Regina pottery with all the details. Unfortunately there is very little information left about the factory.
If anyone has any information on the factory, such as pictures or articles, then please let me know. You can contact me through Stuart & Kim.
Joop Nobel - Gouda - the Netherlands
Note - this article was written in 2002. Since then more is known about the marks of Regina thanks to Joop's new research. New book about Regina by Joop now for sale. More information about Regina and marks can be found in Ron Tasman's 'The Gouda Pottery Book'. To Regina GalleryDescriptions