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

Announcing the Roster of Free Lectures that Enrich the Experience of the New ...
ArtfixDaily, December 10th

12 Noon Duchess, Dogs, Detroit, Dragons, Handles and Cherrypickers: Re-Animating the Transferware Archives of an Industry Paul Scott, Artist, Author and Researcher and Professor at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts Norway. This lecture provides a ...Read more

Weekly police report
Coast Reporter, December 3rd

21, a red transfer ware bowl with a floral pattern, a Paragon china teapot and a blue floral patterned butter bowl were stolen. Anyone with any information about these thefts is asked to contact RCMP at 604-885-2266 and reference file 14-8219. • On Nov...Read more

Last-minute Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas
Akron Beacon Journal (blog), November 26th

Blogger Karen - The Graphics Fairy combined old transferware and ironstone with hydrangeas from her garden to create this tablescape. Read more at http://www.hometalk.com/682055/my-table-is-all-set-for-thanksgiving. View More Photos >>. Yikes! Did you ...Read more

Vintage or modern, a cornucopia of turkey wares in style for Thanksgiving
The Keene Sentinel, November 23rd

Traditionally, some of the more beautiful turkey plates you'll find are vintage, most of these a product of a technique called transferware. Some are Currier & Ives-ish, produced from engravings on copper plate that then are inked and transferred on...Read more

A cornucopia of turkey wares are in style for Thanksgiving
Leader-Telegram, November 21st

Traditionally, some of the more beautiful turkey plates you'll find are vintage, most of these a product of a technique called transferware. The turkey was the centerpiece of a circa 1930s transferware plate by Barker Brothers. Though predominantly...Read more

Antiques & Collectibles: Tie 1 (apron) on this Thanksgiving
Post-Bulletin, November 21st

Thanksgiving is getting to be the forgotten holiday but not to some who collect Thanksgiving items such as English transferware plates and platters showing Pilgrims, Native Americans and, of course, the turkey -- the bird of the season. Royal Doulton ...Read more

The Grapevine (Nov. 22)
Kansas.com, November 20th

Traditionally, some of the more beautiful turkey plates you'll find are vintage, most of these a product of a technique called transferware. Some are Currier & Ives-ish, produced from engravings on copper plate that then are inked and transferred on...Read more

The Best Pinterest Boards For Thanksgiving Table Ideas
Huffington Post, November 19th

Wedgwood Turkey Dinner Plate 11.25" Excellent Condition #Wedgwood Tablescape ● Pottery Barn Thanksgiving 16 Queen's Myott Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner Plates, 4 sets of 4, New in Boxes Red transferware plates are a perennial turkey-day ...Read more