Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blue and White Dishware - Classic and Beautiful

 I love blue and white dishware and collect without discrimination. I love it all - my old Victorian Flow Blue, the clean lines of Finlandia patterns (poor man's Royal Copenhagen), and rustic blue and white spatterware and spongeware.

There is something so clean and bright, a simple purity that speaks of home. Oscar Wilde once claimed that he feared he would never live up to his blue and white dishware. Old collectible Flow Blue can cost a fortune. Or you can find blue and white china for next to nothing at a thrift shop.

Blue and white are the colors of the sky, the sea, and the colors most associated with the Blessed Mother. Blue and white china reminds me of the sky on the most beautiful of days, when the weather is dry with a few clouds in the heavens, and the air is fresh and clean.

Transferware, developed in England in the late 1700s used a printing method to decorate dishware. Previously, dishes had been hand painted. The new method transferred ink from copper plates onto tissue paper which was applied to pottery. Quicker, cheaper mass production of transferred designs became popular with England's burgeoning middle class. Blue and white was the color combination of choice though other colors eventually included brown, cranberry, and mixed hues. Popular designs featured flowers, rural scenes, and souvenirs. The plate below depicts Franconia Notch in New Hampshire USA.

Blue and white souvenir transferware plate

Flow Blue

Antique  Flow Blue is a beautiful transferware china that originated by mistake in the early part of the 19th century. When the color ran ruining the pattern, sets were shipped to the United States where they caught on.

Tea cup with no handle

 Early British tea cups had no handles. Though handles were common by the early 1800s tea cups without handles (like the one pictured above) were produced into the mid 19th century.

Old blue and white spatterware pitcher

Spatterware and spongeware refer to simple techniques of decorating pottery. Blue paint was spattered onto a piece creating an interesting design. Sponges could be cut into patterns and used to print a design on a surface. The stoneware pitcher above shows a spattered decoration. Here too, blue and white were the most popular color combination. 

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