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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Covered Butter Dish Ridgways Chiswick Flow Blue Gold Scroll -oversized -englandAntique Flow Blue Brush Stroke Fern And Leaf Pattern CreamerAntique Old La Belle Flow Blue Serving Dish 10"Antique Gaudy England Flow Blue Hand Painted Strawberries Pottery PitcherVictorian 7.5" Six Panelled Jug Blue & White Slightly Flow Blue Floral # 2Antique Scinde Flow Blue Tureen, Covered Dish, Oriental Stone, J & G AlcockEarly Lg.flow Blue Sugar Bowl In An Oriental Pattern NrAntique Flow Blue Fern And Berry Pattern Large Sugar W/lid Ironstone19th C Art Nouveau - Flow Blue Royal Staffordshire Ladle - Iris PatternVictorian 8.5" Six Panelled Jug Blue & White Slightly Flow Blue Floral # 3Royal Staffordshire Flow Blue Iris Dish China 25 Piece Place Settings SetLabelle China Flow Blue Dish Wheeling Pottery Middleport Flow Blue Milk Pitcher, Non PareilVictorian 6.75" Six Panelled Jug Blue & White Slightly Flow Blue Floral # 1Beautiful Antique Flow Blue Nippon Open Salt Cellar Nut Dish BowlAntique Flow Blue Advertising Plate - Crawford Cooking Ranges - StaffordshireAntique Alfred Meakin 7 3/4" Flow Blue Transferware Salad Soup Bowl, England7 Flow Blue Woods And Sons Plates Antique Art Noveau New Wharf Pottery Flow Blue Creamer ~paris Pattern~eucAntique Edward Walley Indian Stone Flow Blue BowlAntique Flow Blue Nimy Soap Dish Drain 2 Piece French France Rocaille 6 3/4 InchBeautiful Antique Flow Blue Pitcher And Wash Basin By Minton ChinaJ & G Alcock Flow Blue Scinde 12” Serving Platter! 1839-1846Grindley Co. Portland F B # 26 Bowls 5 Piece England Fine China Set Flow BlueFour Meissen England Blue Onion Danube Flow Blue Plates 9 5/8" Crown Mark Antique Flow Blue Oval Dish By W.h.grindley, England 184834 DuchessW.h. Grindley Vintage Flow Blue Rose 11.5" Serving Platter Flow Blue Hexagonal Hatpin Holder Victoria Ironstone China Pagoda SceneLovely Flow Blue Staffordshire Art Nouveau Hatpin Holder C1900Antique Flow Blue W Adams & Sons Tonquin Pattern 8 3/8"" PlateAntique Alfred Meakin 5" Flow Blue Transferware Dessert Bowl, EnglandAntique 6" Flow Blue Pottery Pitcher - Blue And WhiteWh Grindley Lotus Pattern Flow Blue 9" Plate Gold Trim Wall Display Antique Flow Blue Covered Vegetable Severn Flow Blue Antiq Victorian Bread Cheese Board Daily Bread Motto East Lake GermanJapanese Earthen Ware Statue - Elder With Flow Blue Robe Stamp Signed Antique Flow Blue Advertising Souvenir Plate Churches Of Jacksonville, FlAntique Flow Blue Dinner Plate Meakin Hanley England Fb StunningAntique Authentic Flow Blue Watteau Doulton England Porcelain Dinner PlateFlow Blue Chamber Pot4 La Francaise Flow Blue China Berry Bowls (flawed) -ship SailingFlow Blue Saucer Scinde Oriental StoneLarge Old Sleepy Eye American Indian Chief Flow Blue & White Stoneware PitcherAntique Flow Blue Plate Made For Conkling Grocery Co., Inc., San Jose, Ca Flow Blue White Pitcher Victorian 1888 English British Registered GrapevineFlow Blue Buter Pat Dish 3" Diameter19c Davenport English Porcelain Flow Blue Pekin Platter C1840Antique Flow Blue Creamer/gravy Boat American Limoges6 La Francaise Flow Blue Semi Vitreous Porcelain China 7" Bread Dessert PlatesVintage Flow Blue ''ye Old Willow'' Pattern Dish/ Plate- Burslem

Recent News: Flow Blue China

Source: Google News

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

Gentleman's pocket watch worth over $1000
kfor.com, June 3rd

Silver presentation goblets are worth money purely because they are silver, but the demand is low, so they are only worth about $75. But a flow blue platter is worth up to $500, and a gentleman's pocket watch is worth up to $1,1000! Check if you have...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