Flow blue was a type of transfer pottery produced by Staffordshire, England, potters beginning in about 1820. Sold mostly in the U.S. market, flow blue was similar to traditional blue-and-white pottery, except that the blue color was deliberately blurred, an effect achieved by adding a cup of lime or ammonia to the kiln during glazing.
English manufacturers of antique flow blue included Wedgwood, Johnson Brothers, Minton, Royal Doulton, and Swansea. Patterns ranged from Blue Danube to Idris to the classic Willow. As for the objects themselves, they included toilet wares and teapots, plates and platters, vases and garden seats, and even dog bowls.
One interesting subset of flow blue is the blue-marble effect. All-over patterns such as Lazuli lent itself to this look: When given the flow-blue treatment, the pattern would blur so that from afar the object resembled a piece of carved, blue-veined marble.
By World War I, U.S. potteries were producing most of the flow blue for the domestic market, causing English potters to exit the business, which had never been popular in the U.K. to begin with. The desirability of the ware waned in both countries between the wars, but interest picked up again in the U.S. in the 1960s. Because large amounts of 19th-century flow blue had been shipped to, or manufactured in, the U.S., flow blue remains fairly reasonable to collect.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
The Scrap Album
The Bowes Museum: Ceramics
Stevengraphs Bookmarks and Postcards
Ceramics at The V&A
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Flow Blue China
Source: Google News
The Birth of a CollectorMaine Antique Digest, December 3rd
Soon she could identify mochaware, majolica, flow blue, Fiesta, Bennington, Leeds, and sewer pipe. She began to ask questions about patterns and looked through guides in order to match a pattern to a find. She discovered that over 100 years ago an...Read more
Public sales: Quarryville farmette brings $400000Lancaster Newspapers, November 29th
Items sold included a silver tea set, $900; a set of sterling flatware, $525; a flow blue tea set, $325; a gray agate water pitcher, $170; a sled, $150; tin train cars,$160; an oak easel, $150; a cherry poster canopy bed, $450; an oak curio cabinet...Read more
Roundup: Vietnam's stock exchange retains gain on positive currency flow, blue ...GlobalPost, November 29th
Collectors Corner: Thanksgiving CollectiblesEcommerceBytes, November 16th
Spode, Royal Doulton, and Wedgwood are but three of the more notable makers of Thanksgiving-themed transferware, including flow blue patterns. Like most transferware of the late-19th and early 20th centuries, especially nice pieces can sell for up to ...Read more