All along the land route from Persia to India via Isfahan, Samarkand, Kabul and Peshawar, the Islamic invaders left their trail. The Royal Mosque at Isfahan, The Gur-e-Mir at Samarkand, the Fort in Lahore and the Chini ka Roza at Agra stand till today, symbols of one of the world’s most enduring architectural developments. All these monuments have a striking similarity - the profuse and intricate use of brilliant blue tile work, this colour generally came to be known as Persian Blue. In those days the kings travelled with their entourage which included artists and craftsman, some of whom settled in the small town of Khurja, near Delhi. Here they reproduced this blue glaze on tiles, the tradition being passed down from father to son. When the British arrived in India via the sea route, they failed to understand the progression of the Persian Blue tile work from central Asia via the land route to India, and assuming it to be indigenous named it Delhi Blue.
Gurcharan Singh was born in Gujranwala. After his education was complete he came to Delhi to work in a brick kiln belonging to Ram Singh Kabli, his father’s friend. Seeing Gurcharan Singh’s interest in ceramics, he sent him to Japan to train for commercial ceramics. In Japan he was attracted to studio pottery and decided to start his own pottery on his return to India. Unfortunately circumstances did not permit him to start a pottery immediately on his return and he worked in various jobs. In 1952 he was able to start his own pottery. Inspired by the name Delhi Blue, he called his pottery, Delhi Blue Art Pottery. He was keen to revive the Blue glaze so he went to Khurja to look for a potter descended from one of the original families who might have knowledge of the formula for this glaze. He met Abdullah, who agreed to come to Delhi to assist in Gurcharan Singh’s new venture. Together they revived the blue glaze and the pottery became well known for this all over the city. It was the first non commercial pottery to produce glazed tiles, jaalis and tableware based on Japanese ceramic traditions. It was also the first pottery to use copper blue and cobalt blue glaze on its products, thus recreating that which had been lost for a long time.
In 1991 Gurcharan Singh founded the Delhi Blue Pottery Trust, which continues to work till today, for the promotion of studio ceramics in India.