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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Beautiful Antique Doulton Burslem Flow Blue Floral Covered Biscuit Cracker Jar Antique Flow Blue William Adams "kyber" Ironstone Ware Covered Tureen 10 1/2"Beautiful Antique Flow Blue English Ironstone Ware 6" Cream PitcherAntique Flow Blue Alcock Oriental Stone Ware Scinde Covered Vegetable DishAntique Flow Blue Maddock "hindustan" Ironstone Ware Covered Teapot 8 1/2"Antique Flow Blue Alcock Oriental Stone Ware Scinde Gravy Boat ServerAntique Gaudy England Flow Blue Hand Painted Strawberries Pottery PitcherFlow Blue — Fern Pattern Vegetable DishAntique Victorian Era 13" Lidded Flow Blue Pottery Ginger Jar Urn Vase Nr Rbh4 Heavy Early Deep Flow Blue Large Soup Bowls Grapes & Cherry Pattern No ReserveAntique Flow Blue Staffordshire Teapot, "shell", E. Challinor, England, C. 1842Lovely Vintage 9" Flow Blue Plate ChapooAntique Argyle Pattern Grindley Porcelain Flow Blue Platter 17" Great Condition!Labelle China Flow Blue Dish Wheeling Pottery Ridgways Transferware Staffordshire Flow Blue Turkey Platter Huge 1840s RareJ & G Alcock Flow Blue Scinde 12” Serving Platter! 1839-1846Flow Blue China - Alcock Scinde Pattern - 3 Saucers - 5¾ InchesAntique Flow Blue Alcock Oriental Stone Ware Scinde Handled Sugar Bowl - No LidRowland & Marsellus Staffordshire Flow Blue Souvenir Cup & Saucer Pittsburgh PaNormandy Flow Blue Dinner Pair Plates, Johnson Brothers, 10 InchAntique W. H. Grindley Flow Blue England Sugar Bowl Clarence Pattern Rare2 Antique Flow Blue Ironstone Mid 19th C Hong Kong Pattern 10&1/2" Dinner PlatesAntique Flow Blue Advertising Plate - Crawford Cooking Ranges - StaffordshireAntique W. T. Copeland Victorian Flow Blue "rome" Serving Platters And PlatesStaffordshire American Villa Flow Blue PlateAntique Sugar Bowl And Creamer Hand Painted Roses Beaded Flow Blue SetW.h. Grindley Florida Flow Blue Two Butter PatsAntique Flow Blue Touraine Stanley Butter/cheese Dish Gold Trim 3 Pcs. EnglandW.h. Grindley "flow Blue - Morning Glory Pattern 12" PlatterAntique Authentic Flow Blue Watteau Doulton England Porcelain Dinner PlateAntique Flow Blue Gravy Ladle Ca 1880's No Reserve 4 La Francaise Flow Blue China Berry Bowls (flawed) -ship SailingAntique England "nonpareil" Burgess & Leigh Flow Blue 9.5" Plate~lot #3! Nr!Antique Lakewood Wood & Son Royal Porcelain England Sugar Bowl Flow Blue GoldAntique Flow Blue - Pitcher (creamer) “iris” By Authur Wilkinson, England Gorgeous Antique Flow Blue Transferware Jumbo Cup / England / Item # 3126 La Francaise Flow Blue Semi Vitreous Porcelain China 7" Bread Dessert PlatesAntique Flow Blue Gravy Ladle "pose" Ca 1880's No Reserve Staffordshire Flow Blue Cup Plate Gothic Pattern By Furnival Ca 1850 #4Antique Flow Blue 6.5" Soup Cereal Berry Bowl Wheeling 'la Belle' 1893-1903 ExcLovely Flow Blue Staffordshire Art Nouveau Hatpin Holder C1900Two Adams Fairy Villas 10" Plates Flow Blue Plate EnglandAntique Royal Staffordshire Iris 14 3/4" Serving Platter Art Nouveau Flow BlueFlow Blue Chamber PotVintage Flow Blue ''ye Old Willow'' Pattern Dish/ Plate- BurslemFlow Blue Conway 5 3/4" Dish New Wharf Pottery Antique Wh Grindley Lotus Pattern Flow Blue 9" Plate Gold Trim Wall Display Antique Vintage Very Fine China Bowl Flow Blue Style Green Floral Marked White Candy WowW Adams Flow Blue Kyber 10" Plates Made In England (set Of 4)Willow Flow Blue Porcelain Dinner Plates Lot Of 6 Baker & Co Ltd England 9 3/4"Antique Flow Blue Plate Made For Conkling Grocery Co., Inc., San Jose, Ca Great Early Matching Flow Blue Cup And Saucer SetAntique Flow Blue Bone Dish, "touraine" C. 1898Pair New Wharf Pottery England Lancaster Flow Blue PlatesAntique Flow Blue Creamer/gravy Boat American LimogesW.h. Grindley Florida Flow Blue Morning Glory Sugar Bowl Lid OnlyW.h. Grindley Florida Flow Blue Coffee Cup OnlyNice Vintage Flow Blue R & M Co. Staffordshire 10" Plate Priscilla & John Alden

Recent News: Flow Blue China

Source: Google News

Heritage: Daughter remembers parents' Salem restaurant
Statesman Journal, July 2nd

Diners were served meatloaf and brown gravy and her mother's special clover leaf bread rolls on "flow blue" plates with three sections. Knieling's mother, Lucille, would wake up early each morning to bake pies and bread for the day. She also would type...Read more

Easy treats for the 4th of July
Wilson County News, June 24th

Everyone will be bringing something to the 4th of July picnic, but you can bring the grand finale. Each of these tasty sweet treats captures the flair of the 4th without the fuss. In just a little time, you can add patriotic color and fun flavor to...Read more

The hard life and early death of Priscilla Goodwin
Yakima Herald-Republic, June 18th

Her great-great-granddaughter has a Flow Blue pottery platter that likely belonged to her. Her great-great-great-granddaughter began visiting her grave as a little girl. They never met her, and they know precious little about her, but they admire her...Read more

GUEST COLUMN: Take the new water rule rhetoric with a grain of salt
Northwest Georgia News, June 18th

It's the reason that the Oostanaula and Chattooga rivers don't still flow blue and purple from the dyes of textile mills. And, in the future, if not dismantled by radical elements that would do away with all government regulation, it will be the reason...Read more

Antiques from estate go to auction in Panama City
Tallahassee.com, June 11th

Sold will be Flow Blue and Mulberry china patterns, primitives, Ironstone pitchers, Wedgwood (blue and white and green and white) and quality reproduction furniture, made correctly with pride and attention to detail. Also sold will be items from...Read more

A Fabulous July Auction!
Maine Antique Digest, June 10th

Staffordshire toby jugs; Sunderland luster jugs; Cantigalli wares; 9 Dedham rabbit plates; set of 12 flow blue bowls, Persian Spray; Copeland Spode Willis; Rookwood glazed vase; Imperial art glass bowl; Royal Worcester; collection of Staffordshire...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

Joe Rosson: 'Flow Blue' plates no longer red-hot with collectors
Knoxnews, 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