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At the end of the seventeenth century the potteries of Delft were producing audacious vases of glazed earthenware. They were colossal, sometimes more than 1.5 metres in height, and consisted of stacked tiers of basins with spouts into which flowers could be inserted. They were called flower pyramids because of their tapering shape, but since the nineteenth century they have mainly been known as tulip vases. The way they are painted, often with oriental figures and motifs, conjures up associations with the Far East. Their slender, pointed structure with spouts resembles the shape of Chinese pagodas. It was above all due to Mary Stuart, the wife of King-Stadholder William III, that these flower pyramids became all the rage with aristocrats in the Netherlands and England around 1680. Adorned with lavish displays of cut flowers of every kind, they were spectacular sights in Baroque palaces. There are only a few dozen of these imposing Delftware vases left in the world. Five of them are in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, as the literal high points of its superb collection of Delft earthenware. In this edition in the Rijksmuseum Series Frits Scholten describes the bloom of Delft Blue in the 17th century.