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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Exquisite Antique Charger Limoges Flow Blue Cows Plate Gold EncrustedAntique Scinde Flow Blue Two Handel Small TrayWedgewood & Co. Clytie Flow Blue Transfer Ware Turkey Dinner PlateAntique Flow Blue China Set 9 Dinner Plates Alfred Meakin Hamilton PatternAntique Flow Blue China Set 9 Butter Pats Alfred Meakin Hamilton PatternFlow Blue Celery DishFlow Blue La Belle China Creamer And SugarBlue Willow Flo Blue PlateMacintyre Moorcroft Biscuit Jar - Flow Blue Evans & Matthews Lid 1898Stunning Flow Blue Kyber Small Platter - Adams & Son - England - 18921857 Gaudy Welsh Paris White Ironstone Walley Blackberry Flow Blue Plate 8 1/2 Davenport Amoy Flow Blue 10-1/2" DiameterAntique Royal Doulton Burslem Flow Blue 15" PlatterFlow Blue Touraine 8 3/4" Plate Stanley Pottery England Antique C. Late 1890's Antique Flow Blue Tea Pot / Sugar Bowl Lid Only *closed Rose Bud / Flower FinialAntique 1860 J Wedgwood Ironstone Chapoo Dinner Plate 10.5" Flow Blue Antique Kyber Flow Blue Wadams & Co England Ironstone China 10 Inch Platter As5Antique Flow Blue Labelle China 8" Plate As IsAntique Porcelain Handled Peach Vase With Flow Blue / Cobalt Flowers (1900's)Antique Flow Blue Dinner Plate 10-1/4" Stanley Pattern By Johnson BrothersAntique Flow Blue Waste Bowl- Gaudy Welsh-copper Luster-hand Painted -ironstoneAntique "touraine" Flow Blue 10" Dinner Plate By Stanley Pottery England 329815Johnson Bros Flow Blue Normandy Pattern Double Handled Gravy With Under PlateExcellent Flow Blue/gold Water Pitcher - Victor - T.r.e. Co., EnglandFlow Blue Large Vegetable Bowl, Whampoa Pattern Antique Wedgwood England Flow Blue 10 Inch Plate Cows & Bulls Vintage Lugano Flow Blue Royal Bone Dishes - FourBeautiful Antique Maddock & Sons, England Flow Blue "dainty" Shallow Soup BowlGorgeous Antique Wedgewood & Co. ? Flow Blue Transfer Ware ? Plate W Lady !Vintage Florida Flow Blue Plate Singing Tower Cypress Gardens Antique Flow Blue Libertas Prussia Eagle Head Flow Blue 9 1/8" Transfer Plate4 "touraine" Flow Blue Cups & Saucers By Stanley Pottery EnglandDoulton Burslem Madras Flow Blue 10.5" Plate England Vgc Please See PicsAntique Doulton Burslem Willow Flow Blue Butter Pat Royal Transferware PotteryAntique New Wharf Lancaster English Flow Blue 9" Plate No Nicks Chips Or Cracks2nd Plate 4 Sale Antique 1850 J R Corinthian Flute Cauldon England Flow BlueFlow Blue 5in Sauce DishAntique Flow Blue Brush Stroke Spinach Leaf SaucerAntique Flow Blue Teapot No Cover Bird & Flowers Stone China TbrFlorida Flow Blue 6 3/4" Pitcher By Johnson BrothersJohnson Bros Normandy Pattern Fruit Bowls Flow Blue Set Of 6Flow Blue & White Covered Canister Royal Crownford Ironstone England JarFlow Blue Middleport Pottery Nonpareil Dinner Plate 10 Inches Burgess & Leigh 2 Sets Teacups Flow Blue, Eglantine K&g Luneville, Transferware France2 Fruit Bowls 5" Eglantine Flow Blue, K&g Luneville, Transferware, FranceOld Rich Color Made In England Morse Furniture Boston Flo Blue Advertising PlateFord & Sons " Brentford " Flow Blue Covered Dish Underplate, Ladle , Lid AntiqueFlow Blue Porcelain Compote With Branching Pattern!Set Of 4 Wood & Sons Davenport Flow Blue & Gold 7 In. Plates Circa 1907Set Of 4 Flow Blue Touraine Henry Alcock & Co. 9" Dinner PlatesColonial Pottery Stoke England Togo Platter Flow Blue2 Ridgways " Grecian " Dark Flow Blue Transfer 9 1/2" Plates Gold Vintage [b]Giant Flow Blue Staffordshire Pottery Cup And Saucer 2 Antique Flow Blue Coffee/tea Cups Gold Trim Set Of 2 /mosaic Art Supplies

Recent News: Flow Blue China

Source: Google News

Rare globe was a 19th-century status symbol
Waterloo 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 outcome
Oregon 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 Christmas
St. 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 feel
The 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 Iceland
Phys.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 fashion
azcentral.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 – vinyl
Audiophile 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 expected
Knoxville 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