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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Antique Flow Blue Salem Witch Massachusetts Plate Rowland Marsellus Staffordshir Flow Blue Jardiniere Pattern Teapot, Villeroy & Boch Company, Mid-late 1800sDavenport Amoy Flow Blue Relish Or Pickle Dish, Man's Face, England, Shell ShapeFlow Blue Platter, Ayr Pattern, W. & E. Corn Co. England Circa 1900-1904Antique English Flow Blue China Teapot Coffee Pot - Grace - GrindleyFlow Blue Serving Bowl Excelsior Pattern By Thomas Fell England Circa Late 1850Davenport Amoy Flow Blue 10-1/2" Dia. Dinner Plate, England, 12-panel Rim BorderGaudy Flow Wagon Wheel Childs Waste Bowl C1875 Allerton Staffordshire Flow BlueAuthentic Flow Blue Turkey Platter And One PlateSix Flow Blue Brush Stroke (spinach) Pattern Teasets, Maastricht, HollandSweet Vintage Flow Blue Milk Pitcher Maker MarkedMustard Pot With Flow Blue Concentric Pattern.19c Royal Staffordshire Flow Blue Iris Vegetable Casserole Dish Art Nouveau Antique Royal Doulton Flow Blue Floral Vase Tapestry Finish Gold TrimMottahedeh Flow Blue Bowl Cache Flower Pot Historic Charleston Reproduction 19th C. English Flow Blue Oriental Inspired 10" Platter By Adams & Co. Beautiful Antique Johnson Bros. Montana Pattern Flow Blue PitcherMercer Semi Vitreous Antique China Flow Blue Paisley Pitcher RareEarly Antique Deep Flow Blue Amoy Pattern Basin Oriental Chinoiserie DesignAntique "lily " Pattern Flow Blue China Case Clock Beveled LensFlow Blue Plate, Warwick China Castle Scene, Wheeling WvFlow Blue Soup Bowls Hong Kong Pattern, Charles Meigh England Circa 1845-1850Flow Blue Amoy Davenport Anchor 10 1/2" Dinner Plate Near MintAntique R & M Staffordshire England Ride Of Paul Revere Flow Blue PlateNew Wharf Pottery Flow Blue PlatterAntique R & M Staffordshire England Souvenir Of Saratoga Flow Blue PlateOld Flow Blue Amoy Pattern PlatterStaffordshire Adam Stevenson Feather Edged Flow Blue PlatterBeautiful Flow Blue PlateAntique R & M Staffordshire England The Boston Massacre Flow Blue PlateFlow Blue Soup Bowl Scinde Pattern12-sided Rim John & George Alcock C.1839-46Antique Blue Onion Germany Ceramic Porcelain Flow Blue Sugar & Starch Canisters Burgess & Leigh Nonpareil Flow Blue 8-1/2" Plate, Middleport England C1891 Nice Podmore & Walker "temple" Flow Blue Plate1876 Antique Flow Blue Khan Bishop And Stonier Bisto Gravy Boat PlateAntique Flow Blue Oval Lidded Serving Bowl Grindley Persia Pattern EnglandWh Grindley Flow Blue Celtic Round Serving Bowl W/ Gold Accents EnglandAntique Doulton Burslem Flow Blue Water PitcherFlow Blue Plate Cauldon England, Columbian Star Circa 1840Antique Villeroy & Boch Dresden Saxony Flow Blue Gravy Boat C1874-1909 GermanyAntique Scinde Pattern Flow Blue 9 1/2" Dinner Plate C1840Flow Blue Plate 1880s No ReserveThree Gaudy Dutch Welsh Pieces - 2 Saucers & Custard Dish Flow BlueAntique Flow Blue Teacups And Saucers By WedgewoodFabulous Antique Flow Blue Transferware Wall PlateCecil England Flow Blue Cup & Saucer-niceMiken Flow Blue Cotton Blend Don't Sweat Sparkle Workout Top Nwt XlW Ridgway Quartz China Flow Blue 10.5" Plate & 2 Different Size Tea Cups - Old!Tonquin Flow Blue Plate By Joseph Heath "dated To 1850"Nice Set Of 4 Touraine 6" Flow Blue Saucers Nice ColorFlow Blue Covered Soap Dish With InsertStaffordshire? Flow Blue Washingtons Prayer At Valley Forge 1777 Plate-gus EgolfAntique R & M Staffordshire England Independence Hall Pa Flow Blue PlateFlow Blue Luncheon Plate,tonquin Pattern,14-sided Rim, W. Adams , Circa 1840sVintage La Francaise Porcelain Flow Blue PlatterFlow Blue 9" Plate Melbourne.Ridways Ladas Small Flow Blue Oval Serving PlatterFlow Blue Waldorf Saucer New Wharf Pottery 1892Very Old Flow Blue Sauce DishTom Turkey & Flo Blue Cup & Saucer Below~a/s Ellen Clapsaddle~thanksgiving~1909

Recent News: Flow Blue China

Source: Google News

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

Auction watch: Fire up the computers for multiple online sales
Tribune-Review, November 1st

A large collection of Flow Blue should appeal to collectors of classic dinnerware. For an unusual touch, a selection of hand vases delivers various shaped vessels held by hand-shaped bases. Lamps and lighting accessories add a bright spot to the sale...Read more

Photo gallery: Kansas City turns on the blue lights
Kansas City Star, October 29th

The waters flow blue at the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain on the Plaza in Kansas City, Mo. T. Rob Brown Special to The Star. From the Downtown Marriot to the Bartle pylons, Kansas City was bathed in blue in celebration of the Royals' playoff and World ...Read more

Americana and Fine Antiques Auction at Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates
ArtfixDaily, October 27th

Encyclopedia Britannia, rare literary first editions, early travel, fine bindings, &c.; Shenandoah Valley documents; 18thand 19th century ceramics including collections of Delft, Staffordshire transferware and figures, and early flow blue, &c...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 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