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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ASK THE EBAY QUEEN: How do I use eBay on Black Friday?Ottawaherald.com, November 26th
Dear eBay Queen: This is my first year selling on eBay, and I know that other people use this time of year to buy stuff to resell. I'm lost on what to buy on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Can I really get some good deals? What are some tricks you use?...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
Auction watch: Fire up the computers for multiple online salesTribune-Review, November 1st
A large collection of Flow Blue should appeal to collectors of classic dinnerware. For an unusual touch, a selection of hand vases delivers various shaped vessels held by hand-shaped bases. Lamps and lighting accessories add a bright spot to the sale...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
Joe Rosson: Flow blue patterns form a slight blue haze around designKnoxville News Sentinel, August 26th
Q: Enclosed are pictures of china that belonged to my father's aunt. I don't have the full set, but I do have several pieces, including a large platter and a serving bowl with lid. The markings have "Anita" and "England" stamped on them, but I cannot...Read more
Flow Blue: A celebrated ceramicCincinnati.com, November 20th
Circa 1870, this 26-inch Flow Blue turkey platter was made by Copeland. It was sold by Cowan's Auctions in November 2004 for $862.50. As a general rule, the larger the size of a platter, the greater its value. When buying Flow Blue, look for examples...Read more
Joe Rosson: 'Flow Blue' plates no longer red-hot with collectorsKnoxville News Sentinel, August 3rd
It was made in England by Johnson Brothers and is in their "Kenworth Flow Blue" pattern. I have found two serving pieces priced at $199.95 each, but not the value of the plate. Can you help? Sincerely,L.W.Dear L.W.:I think I can, but the news is not good...Read more