Monday, April 14, 2014

Flow Blue Earthenware

You have your collectible blue and white china, which is lovely and dates from the 1820's, and then you have flow blue china, which began in the same region of Staffordshire, England. The term "flow blue" comes from the blue glaze that blurred or "flowed" during the firing process. This gives an entirely different look than the "non flowing" blue and white, but both are beautiful in their own right and would compliment any cottage style decorating scheme.

Here is an example of regular blue and white:

Non-flowing Blue Willow bowl made in England.

Flow blue earthenware comes in all shapes and sizes, from dinnerware pieces to large jardinieres on stands. Here is an example of a flow blue chamber pot ~ this one was made in Burslem, England about 1900 by Ford and Sons.

Flow blue chamber pot at Hourglass Antiques & Collectibles.

The most ubiquitous pieces are the dinnerware shapes. This 5.25 inch pitcher is six-sided with twelve embossed panels. It has an Oriental motif with a pagoda, a willow tree with twisting trunk, a ship, and distant mountains.

This pitcher dates from about 1860.

Flow blue Oriental theme pitcher at Hourglass Antiques & Collectibles. 

Here are two platters, one is in the "Non-Pareil" pattern by Burgess & Leigh, England, and is decorated with only a little white showing. Date of manufacture is about 1891.

Burgess & Leigh flow blue platter at Hourglass Antiques & Collectibles. 

The second platter has a beautiful floral pattern, but only in the center and around the edge. It is also a wonderful example of American flow blue. It's from the Mercer Pottery Co. of Trenton, N.J. and is in the "Luzerne" pattern, circa 1868.

"Luzerne" flow blue platter at Houglass Antiques & Collectibles.

I can easily visualize this pattern in a cottage style home! 

Decorating Note:  Plates and platters can come out of the china cabinet and go on a wall. Bedrooms especially look well, decorated in this way.

There are many reference books on flow blue china and I recommend buying one before starting a collection. The value of a piece depends on many things, such as the pattern, the maker, the shape, and so on. Beware of reproductions! A good reference guide will also include a list of reproduced patterns and tips to avoid purchasing them.