Transferware is about as close as you can get to printing on ceramics. Developed in Staffordshire, England in around 1760, the technique consists of transferring a print from an engraved and inked copper plate to a sheet of paper.

The paper is then applied to the unfired clay, be it earthenware or bone china, which absorbs the ink from the paper. After the paper is removed, the clay is glazed and fired.

Staffordshire had long been a center for fine ceramics, but the Industrial Revolution made the area a center for mass-produced wares for England’s growing middle class. Transferware permitted potteries to produce far more than if they were hand painting everything, which Wedgwood and especially Spode capitalized on.

The sources for the earliest transferware designs were 18th-century blue-and-white porcelain platters and plates from China, which were very popular in England at the time. Italian scenes were also replicated in blue on white. During this early period in transferware, patterns such as Willow were introduced and quickly became entrenched in the form’s visual vocabulary.

After the War of 1812, Staffordshire potteries produced imagery calculated to appeal to American customers. Around 1820, a pottery called Ridgeway created a series of what is today regarded as Historical Blue Staffordshire, or Old Blue as it’s sometimes known, called “Beauties of America.” These handsome, patriotic pieces depicted important U.S. buildings such as City Hall in New York.

Other potteries turned out jugs and platters bearing pictures of Boston Harbor and Niagara Falls. And potter Thomas Mayer produced a highly collectible series of transferware pieces known as the “Arms of America,” which featured coats of arms for many American states.

By about 1830, some potteries were pushing the limits of blue on white by adding lime or ammonia to a kiln during firing, which made the blue glaze run or flow. These “flown” pie...

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 ranged from teapots to platters to vases. Even dog bowls were produced in flow blue.

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.

Today, collectors choose transferware based on the pottery, the subject, or even the border. Some like to collect only pieces with “Crown, Acorn, & Oak Leaf” borders, others prefer “Tulips,” or “Pineapple,” or “Grapevine.”

Use is the last major transferware-collecting category. Plates and bowls, of course, are good examples of objects designed for everyday use, while platters where often reserved for special occasions, which means their transferred patterns are often more elaborate and intricate.

Dessert items can range from pierced plates and baskets to footed serving dishes. Teapots and cups are also popular, as are jugs, ladles, and a category of specialized items delicately described as toilet ware.

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Recent News: Transferware

Source: Google News

Four ingredients for a great fall table
Sioux City Journal, August 29th

Sweet transferware dishes are so versatile you could transform them for every season simply by pairing them with different accent colors: red for the holidays, blue for spring, orange for summer. For a fall table, we brought in shades of browns through...Read more

Style at Home: Four ingredients for a great fall table
Lexington Herald Leader, August 24th

Sweet transferware dishes are so versatile you could transform them for every season simply by pairing them with different accent colors: red for the holidays, blue for spring, orange for summer. For a fall table, we brought in shades of browns through...Read more

Chemistry, Civil War, Travel & Exploration at National Book Auctions
Fine Books & Collections Magazine, August 16th

The ceramics include late 18th and early 19th century Staffordshire examples and several different styles including flow blue transferware and majolica. This auction also features numerous lots of handsome antique carved wooden duck decoys. National ...Read more

Four decor ideas for the dog days of summer, August 13th

When Spode came out with a line of transferware dishes that depicted hunting dogs, I fell in love. These richly colored pieces are especially lovely in the fall and winter, when you want warmer, deeper, earthy tones in your decor. If a full set of...Read more

Vidal: Coman-Transfer wäre gut für Bayern
transfermarkt, August 12th

Bayern-Neuzugang Arturo Vidal (28) spricht in der „Sport Bild“ über die Gerüchte um Juventus-Talent Kingsley Coman (19): „Er hat noch eine große Entwicklung vor sich. Sollte er mir zum FC Bayern folgen, wäre er eine tolle Unterstützung für die Mannschaft...Read more

STYLE AT HOME: 4 dog decor ideas for the dog days of summer
Duluth News Tribune, August 10th

According to the calendar, we are in the dog days of summer, those sizzling hot weeks when summer gives us her last — and best — punch. We're so crazy about dogs that it's kind of dog days here all year-round. Most of us who work at Nell Hill's have...Read more

Style: Old things to love
The Detroit News, August 6th

Transferware: If my house was on fire, I would run back in for my transferware dishes. A quick snapshot of history: Transferware was developed in England in the 1750s as a way to mass produce dinnerware so it was accessible and affordable for middle...Read more

Unique pieces of history get to show off at VHFs Anique Market
Bristol Herald Courier (press release) (blog), August 3rd

ABINGDON, Va. — If you're looking for something different, you might want to check out the Virginia Highlands Festival's Antique Market — where you can find a variety of items from antique furniture made from steer horns to Civil War-era bottles. The...Read more