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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Staffordshire Flow Blue Coburg Serving PlatterGaudy Welsh Ironstone Flow Blue Pearlware Glaze Name Mug Staffordshire AntiqueLarge Antique Probably 1800's Flow Blue Large Platter With Turkey SceneAntique Doulton Flow Blue Turkey Dinner Plate #2Antique Huge 6 Gallon Flow Blue Crock Ovid Stoneware Salt Glaze Old Vtg JugAntique Doulton Flow Blue Turkey Dinner Plate #1Antique Charles Meigh Imperial Hong Kong Flow Blue 9.5" Octagonal BowlWarwick China Flow Blue Chocolate PotAntique 19c Wheeling Flow Blue Monumental Lion Head Pottery Jardiniere PlanterGaudy Welch/dutch Ironstone Coffeepot, Circa 1840,flow BlueNice Antique Flow Blue Butter Pat In The "ovando" Pattern / Alfred Meakin Antique Clews Staffordshire Flow Blue Transferware Plate England 8.75"Antique Mintons Oriental Pattern Flow Blue Oyster PlateIronstone Flow Blue Teapot8.5" Flow Blue Plate, Pattern Unknown, John Wedge Wood England, Circa 1841-1860Indian Tree Flow Blue Loving Cup C.1845.19th C Flow Blue Covered Butter Dish, Marked Bb, No ReserveNice Pair Antique Flow Blue Butter Pats In An Unknown Pattern / Gold TrimAntique Ridgway Royal Porcelain Brighton Flower Flow Blue Bowl Dish Vintage OldNice Lot Of Twelve Antique Flow Blue Butter Pats In The "touraine" PatternGladys New Wharf Pottery England Flow Blue And White Platter Circa 1891Antique Dark Flow Blue 12 Sided Shallow Bowl / Dish ~sobraon Pat Early 1800sAntique Flow Blue Plate 10 1/2" W. Adams & Co. Fairy Villas EnglandAntique Staffordshire Flow Blue Transferware Plate England 9"Vintage Antique Flow Blue W/gold Gilt Gda Limoges Goa France Porcelain PlateGrindley Flow Blue Butter Dish ~ Argyle PatternAntique Ridgway Flow Blue Polychrome Corey Hill 7 1/2" PlateAntique Flow Blue Staffordshire Scenic Transfer Plate Adams 1820'sNice Pair Antique Flow Blue Butter Pats In An Unknown Pattern Antique Johnson Bros Tureen Covered Flow Blue White Gold Trim Made In EnglandNice Early Rare Wedgwood & Co. Doris Semi Porcelain Bowl Pitcher Set Flow BlueAntique Johnson Bros Flow Blue Cup & Saucer Regent Pattern Gilding EnglandVintage Flow Blue Victoria Ware Iron Stone Large Covered Cheese Butter Dish Antique Flow Blue China 8 3/4" Plate-"the Temple" Pattern - P.w. & Co19c Staffordshire Bisto Mansfield Flow Blue Covered Vegetable Tureen C1840Rustic Flow Blue Toast Rack.Antique Holland Johnson Bros England Flow Blue Ware Onion Saucer Dish1897 Wedgewood Flow Blue Souvenir Plate-old State House Boston East End & Hanger4 Pieces Of Antique Flow Blue Non Pareil Burgess & Leigh Middleport Pottery Antique Paneled Flow Blue Handless Cup & Saucer- Ning Po-1840's Oriental Pattern19c Staffordshire Bisto Mansfield Flow Blue Turkey Platter 18" C1840Antique Rare Pair Of New Warf Pottery England Monmouth Flow Blue Bone DishesAntique Flow Blue Allerton's Willow 1831 Set 6 Plates 7 3/4in.englandAntique Flow Blue Mixed Lot - 9 PiecesAntique Flow Blue Waldorf Dinner Plate Made By New Wharf In EnglandFlow Blue Plate By Grindley England Hofburg Pattern9" Flow Blue Plate, Fairy Villas Pattern, William Adams And Co. Circa Late 1800sCopeland Spodes Tower Gadroon Floral Scallop Flow Blue England Teacup & Saucer

Recent News: Flow Blue China

Source: Google News

Antiques: A practical gift
Ottawa Citizen, December 10th

This is a fine example of the late period of “flow blue,” an intentional running of the blue colour that was in fashion during this time. The rose pattern is based on a climbing tea rose often called the “Old Glory Rose,” initially bred by Pierre...Read more

Plates made in Staffordshire bought at garage sale
NewsOK.com, November 30th

Q: I have enclosed the mark that is on the back of six Flow Blue luncheon plates that I bought over 40 years ago from an antiques shop. Each dish is decorated with a border of roses against a white background. They are in perfect condition. What can...Read more

Everything has its purpose in Carolina Forest home of Paul and Bonnie Boehlke
Myhorrynews, November 24th

Bonnie Boehlke has a knack for knowing where to put things – whether it's a pair of Victorian-looking dolls in the corner of a lavender-colored guest room, or a bouquet of hydrangea in her mother's flow blue pitcher on the kitchen counter. In the...Read more

City to sell blue fountain water to benefit City of Fountains Foundation
fox4kc.com, October 21st

in Kansas City are in need of critical repair. The blue water bottle sale will start on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 10 a.m. at Plaza Customer Service located at 4750 Broadway Blvd. The city says eight major KC fountains will flow blue throughout the...Read more

Why Blue Nile (NILE) Stock Is Falling Today
TheStreet.com, July 22nd

Despite an increase in cash flow, BLUE NILE INC's cash flow growth rate is still lower than the industry average growth rate of 15.47%. The gross profit margin for BLUE NILE INC is rather low; currently it is at 19.33%. Regardless of NILE's low profit...Read more

Joe Rosson: Flow blue patterns form a slight blue haze around design
Knoxville 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 ceramic
Cincinnati.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 collectors
Knoxville 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