POLYCHROME TRANSFER PRINTED WARES

By: John Hogan

Polychrome actually means many colors. Transferware was not only executed in blue and white. There is also brown and white, green and white, black and white, pink and white, purple and white, flow blue and mulberry.

JOHN RIDGWAY, "IMP. STONE CHINA" IMARI SOUP TUREEN PLATTER, C. 1835

JOHN RIDGWAY IMARI PLATTER, C. 1835

MYOTT & SONS, POLYCHROME CHARGER/DASHER C. 1940

MYOTT & SONS CHARGER/DASHER C. 1940

Polychrome colors added to the basic transfer print after firing were that of green, orange, red and yellow. What manufacturers did after transfer printing was to add splashes of color either underglaze or overglaze to many of their ironstone wares to meet the changing taste of the times. It was also an influence of the orient to have more colorful wares for sale. At times this method of decorating could also hide or mask slight imperfections in their pottery creations. This was especially true for many factories that used the clobbering technique which was overglaze technique. Consequently little minor factory flaws or imperfections once clobbered or polychromed went unnoticed to the human eye. However this is not to say that all polychrome is inferior. Some polychrome and imari is absolutely exquisite and of very high caliber.

When polychrome is applied by hand over the glaze, it is referred to as clobbering. This technique did not require such high firing temperature as did the underglaze hand painted pieces. When polychrome was applied to an ironstone medium it was referred to as Gaudy Dutch or Gaudy Ironstone. When it was applied to a porcelain medium it was referred to as Gaudy Welsh and is often accompanied by applied luster to the edges and outlines floral motifs. Such multi-color when applied to porcelain and ironstone is also referred to as Imari Wares.

Polychrome was a great means for British potters to make their transfer wares more salable to the home market and especially for export to the USA and the colonies of Great Britain. Many renowned Staffordshire factories produced such wares. Davenport factory, Spode factory, Masons factory, Woods & Sons factory, Minton factory, Wedgwood factory, etc.

One such renowned English factory was John & William Ridgways circa 1835. Almost a century later is the very recognizable factory of Myott & Sons, circa 1940 still creating a melange of color overglaze with their Peasantry pattern.

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