From Here to There – Transferware

I was cruising around one of the local thrift stores I like to poke around in on Wednesday this past week. I tend to linger because as I’m shopping, they keep putting stuff out. So it’s hard to leave because I think I’m going to miss something! I think that is their diabolical plan and it’s totally working.

Transferware Creamer Royal China Colonial Homestead (photo courtesy of Vintage Eve’s)

Well, I was about done after I thought I had seen everything when I spotted the cute creamer above. It was nasty with dirt and grease but in great shape otherwise. It reminded me of my Noni’s house so I couldn’t resist. I brought it home, cleaned it up and put it in the shop.  It’s a piece of ceramic ware called transferware.

Transferware Compotier (photo courtesy of My Vintage Provence)

If you’re not familiar with transferware it’s created by transferring a print from an inked, engraved plate to a sheet of paper which is then applied to the unfired clay. Some sources state the paper is tissue paper. The clay or china, or whatever you are working with, absorbs the ink and after the paper is removed, the piece is then glazed and fired (Collector’s Weekly). Viola, transferware!

Charlottesville Hardware Company Purple Transferware Plate (photo courtesy of Sue’s Antique Wonderland)

It’s an interesting process that started around 1760. I would have thought that that was sort of advanced for the 1700s but they were really doing some innovative things at that time. It began in Staffordshire, England, which, according to Collector’s Weekly has been a center for fine ceramics for a long time.

Brown Tinturn Transferware Pitcher by Alfred Meakin (photo courtesy of Intrinsic Vintage)

Transferware allowed the ceramic houses to produce pieces faster than hand painting everything. Wedgwood and Spode were already doing that and doing it well.

French Ironstone Transferware Plates (photo courtesy of Themison)

Italian scenes and blue-and-white were very popular. Patterns such as Willow became iconic in reference to the art. Collector’s Weekly says that a company called Ridgeway produced a series known as “Old Blue” but was actually called “Beauties of America” in a bid to catch the American market. They depicted important U.S. buildings at the time.

Blue Transferware Old North Church (photo courtesy of Cottage Garden Vintage)

There was a particular glaze technique that sprung up around 1830 called “flown.” It was created by adding lime or ammonia to the kiln during firing the blue-and-white pieces and this made the glaze run or flow. Hence the name “flown.” You can check Collector’s Weekly for some manufacturers of this type of glaze.

Flow Blue T Walker Cup and Saucer (photo courtesy of Sexy Southern Yankee)

Many collectors today tend to collect based on certain attributes of the transfer such as flowers or a particular border. And of course many people collect based on what it is. Some people are into collecting kitchen stuff (ahem, I might know someone who collects these) or some people are into teapots or jugs. Whatever type of transferware you collect, there’s excellent examples out there.

Transferware Chamber Pot (photo courtesy of Surrender Dorothy)

I also happened to find this blog,  Nancy’s Daily Dish, that shows the steps of creating transferware in great detail . Check it out, it’s really cool!

Do you collect any transferware or remember it from a parent or grandparent’s house? I’d lover to hear about it. Have a great week!

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