Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Feeling the Blues of Flow Blue.

I love the blues in music, in art, in water, and especially antique, flow blue ceramics. The deeper and more spread of the blue, the more I like it. Originally believed to be accidental, this flowing color was produced by the reaction of volatile chlorides upon ceramic colors. When colors and designs are applied to the pottery surface and are exposed to a chlorinated atmosphere in the kiln, the vapors cause the color to spread and blur--thus flow blue. Magic in my book. Pure and simple magic.

The New England Antiques Journal writes Flow Blue ceramics, with softly flowing transfer-printed decorations on durable, white, earthenware bodies, were created by English potters in the second quarter of the nineteenth century and were promptly introduced to the world market and by 1940, Flow Blue wares were particularly popular in the American market. America's consumers adored the dark blue hazy patterns and purchased Flow Blue by the barrelful. As the nineteenth century progressed, Flow Blue found its way into a variety of households – beginning with the burgeoning middle classes at its introduction and expanding until these wares were available to nearly everyone by the late nineteenth century. For the middle class, Flow Blue was a godsend, providing durable, moderately priced services much less expensive than porcelain or bone china, yet tasteful and delicate enough to be used during formal dinners and teas. Hosting these affairs was absolutely essential to rising in the Victorian social rankings.


Flow Blue pottery and china is one of the most popular, collectible ceramics in the United States antique market. More than 1,500 Flow Blue patterns were produced in Victorian England, Germany, Holland, and the United States with peak production from the mid-eighteen hundreds to the early 1940's. It’s not hard to find, but prices tend to be dear. Still, a good buy or “steal” can often be found. But then I have always found that the hunt is as much fun as the acquisition.

7 comments:

FrenchBlue said...

I know why you love Flow Blue~~ It is the sea~ I know of a place in Mass. that pieces of Flow Blue china wash ashore like seaglass! There is a ship that shipwrecked that was transporting Flow Blue china! Can you imagine!!! I think I would take up skin diving for those treasures!
XO's

seanymph said...

I love flow blue but dont own any. I never can find that "steal" they are always so expensive. And so I look at them, drool and sigh and walk away. I do collect blue and white porcelains tho, those are gorgeous and reasonably priced.

misselaineous said...

Thanks for visiting Love2...and for the nice comment. I love it when I read someone's blog & their subject jogs a buried memory. We should copyright that and call it a "blog jog"! I am admiring your Flow Blue pieces and they are fabulous...true treasures! I'll be back...had you on a bookmark & lost that list to a 'puter meltdown. Good to see you again...your blog is ssssooo calming...like a walk on the beach. *elaine*

Kathleen said...

Love these flow blue pieces. Just lovely. I am very partial to all trasferware. Your music is beautiful. Wishing you a lovely day, hugs, Kathleen

stagingworks2009 said...

I love these ones Musings. Thanks for sharing. Blue is my favorite color. I wish I had some of them and put at home. Check this one Home Staging Photos

paperbird said...

So beautiful. Blue is becoming one of my favorite colors. My grandmother had a collection of beautiful blue and white teas cups and saucers from Holland- I wonder who got those!

Anonymous said...

Love everything in Blue and White. Your web site is also beautiful. A pleasure to browse here.