delftware. The earliest delftware was a faience, a heavy, brown earthenware with opaque white glaze and polychrome decoration, made in the late 16th cent. Some of the earliest imitations of Chinese and Japanese porcelain were made at Delft in the 17th cent. Delft was important as a pottery center from the mid-17th cent. to the end of the 18th cent. By 1850 little of the industry survived. The name delft is also often applied to the wares of similar nature made in 17th-century London, Bristol, and Liverpool.