Flow Blue China History and Patterns

January 26, 2014

When Chinese porcelain made its way to the west in the 17th Century, it instantly became a hit. Along with this fine china came stories that greatly influenced the Western countries and the culture of making and collecting fine china begun. One of the most popular china patterns is the Flow Blue which has its origins in the pottery houses of Staffordshire, England and Josiah Wedgwood II is commonly credited for its creation.  Flow Blue is gets its name from the slightly hazy quality in the design where the bright white contrasts with the stunning cobalt blue color.  This bleeding of the blue color onto the white was essentially an accident as European porcelain makers tried to copy the beautiful porcelain designs coming from the far east.

Flow Blue to date is highly collectible antique blue and white china and is a kind of transferware where the decorative patterns were applied with a paper stencil to white-glazed porcelain blanks. With the introduction of the transferware technique it paved the way for the creation of less expensive chinaware as opposed to the hand painted Chinese porcelain which only the wealthiest could afford.


SOURCE: http://www.gaslampantiques.com/magazine/features.php?article=250

The first Flow Blue patterns incorporated themes and motifs from the Orient such as temples, Asian style scenery and pagodas. Later on floral and pastoral patterns were created for the Victorian market.  During World War II, interest in Flow Blue waned but in the late 1960s an interest in antique created a new surge of popularity for this pattern.

The Flow Blue China comes in four basic styles namely: Oriental patterns (Asian style depicting temples, pagodas, Asian scenery, garden and people dressed in Chinese style clothing), Romantic Flow Blue (flowers, animals, trees and quaint town scenes), Floral Flow Blue Patterns (features flowers, vines and leaves), Brush stroke (mimic hand painted brush strokes and is hand painted with pink or copper luster and may include other colors).

The most sought after patterns are shown in each of the categories below.

Romantic Pattern:

1. Watteau by John William Adams (1890 – 1910)

2. Non Pariel by Burgess & Leigh (1891-1900)

3. Italian Scenery by W. Adams (1890)

4. Oriental by Ridgways (1890) and continued into 1920s

5. Peruvian by John Wedgwood (1849)

Oriental Patterns:

1. Amoy by Davenport (1844)

2. Scinde by John and George Alcook (1840)

3. Manilla by Podmore & Walker (1845)

4. Cashmere by Thomas Edwards(1850)

5. Cabal by Thomas Edwards (1847)

Floral Patterns:

1. Argyle by W.H. Grindley (1896)

2. Lonsdale by Ridgways (1910), produced on a semi-porcelain medium.

3. Blue Danube by Johnson Brothers (1900 – 1904)

4. La Belle by Wheeling Pottery Co, West Virginia (1900s)

5. Seville by Wood & Sons (1900s), New Wharf Pottery made a new varieant dating 1891.

Brush Stroke Patterns:

1. Cashmere by Ridgway & Francis Morley (1850-1860)

2. Aster & Grapeshot by Joseph Clementson (1840) and is known as Blueberry in Quebec

3. Spinach or Hops by Petrius Regout, Societe Ceramique, Maastrich, Holland

4. Tulip & Sprig by Thomas Walker (1845)

5. Strawberry by T. Walker (1856)

 Overall Flow Blue is a very beautiful china pattern, highly collectible and with many collectors out there looking for rare and unique pieces.


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