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.
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Recent News: Flow Blue China
Source: Google News
Rare globe was a 19th-century status symbolWaterloo Record, January 23rd
A. You have a very nice set of what you've correctly identified as "flow blue" pottery, dating from sometime between 1891 and about 1900, and created in the Tunstall, England-based pottery opened in 1875 by Alfred Meakin. The company remained in family ...Read more
Julie Green: Yielding to the capricious outcomeOregon ArtsWatch, December 8th
The artist has repurposed a Noritake dinnerware for 12 inherited from her grandmother by painting over the original prim pattern with flow blue pigment. On the bottom of each piece, the artist inscribed moments of awkwardness in her life, for example...Read more
Flow Customers to Win Big This ChristmasSt. Lucia Times Online News (press release), November 23rd
The company celebrates its first in store promotion at the Flow Blue Coral Retail Center with great fanfare and lots of excitement as customers were greeted by Santa's helpers and treated with fruit cake and sorrel! The Flow Christmas campaign features...Read more
At Home: Small touches can create homey farmhouse feelThe Daily News Journal, September 26th
Bell says one of the most popular dish designs is known as “Blue Willow” or “Flow Blue,” because the blue ink bled into the white background slightly. Heavier, restaurant plates and mugs also fit into this style. Other popular choices for a farmhouse...Read more
Mapping lava flows in IcelandPhys.Org, September 10th
An aerial photo shows the edge of the Holuhraun lava flow (blue line), where the lava went over a combination of sand and bedrock. Two types of lava appear on either side of the red line: smooth pahoehoe on the right and rubbly a'a on the left...Read more
Blue flow has fallen out of fashionazcentral.com, May 12th
Question:I purchased about a dozen pieces of flow blue in the Normandy pattern during the 1980s. Because the pieces I have are at least a century old and in excellent shape, I assumed they would also be easy to sell. I was wrong. I am unable to find a...Read more
Terence Blanchard – Flow – Blue Note – vinylAudiophile Audition, January 23rd
Terence Blanchard is an important part of the new jazz resurgence. After stints with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and Art Blakey Jazz Messengers, he became an in demand sideman and pursued a successful career as band leader. Along the way, he ...Read more
Joe Rosson: Flow blue dinnerware not as old as expectedKnoxville News Sentinel, August 23rd
The term "flow blue" refers to transfer-printed blue-and-white dinnerware in which the blue seems to "bleed" or run and create a sort of hazy, soft, and dreamy pigmentation that many collectors find very attractive. There are those who maintain that...Read more