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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Easy treats for the 4th of JulyWilson 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 GoodwinYakima 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 saltNorthwest 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 CityTallahassee.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 $1000kfor.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 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' plates no longer red-hot with collectorsKnoxnews, 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