TRANSITIONAL STAGES OF BLUE AND WHITE TRANSFERWARE CHINA
Blue and white chinaware has been with us for centuries with its beginnings in China. When we speak of its production in terms of England, we may go back as far as 1790s.
By 1820-1830 many of the English factories of renowned status like Enoch Wood, Ralph Hall, Andrew Stevenson and others were producing very yummy dark inky blue transferware which many refer to as "historical blue and white" which is technically incorrect unless the transfer is an actual typographical view. Many absolutely gorgeous dark blue transfers were produced of which some were pastoral, romantic or floral in nature other than the actual historical views of buildings, streets, actual landscapes or important people of political, religious or regal interest. The rage for this very attractive dark blue and white by Americans induced the various British and Scottish factories like Careys to produce literally tons of this dark transferware for export to the United States until about 1840-1860 when American factories began it own production of such wares.
By 1830-1840 the trend away from the darker blue wares to the paler blue transferwares was evident by such factories as Ridgway's "American Beauties" series which depicted actual American scenes. The paler blues were in more favor by the English at the time as well. Some of the earlier dark blues and paler blues were also exported to Canada depicting Canadian scenes, for example Mont Morency Falls by Enoch Wood was dark blue from the 1820s, Davenport's "Montreal" from 1820s was light blue. By 1840 Podmore & Walker factory was producing many of Henry Bartlett"s Canadian views in pale blue transfers. Of course at the time Canada was under British rule and was referred to as "colonies" of Great Britain.
As time passed blue and white transferware never really went out of vogue amongst the more affluent who thirsted for the beauty of these transferwares. Of course around 1835-1875, ironstone dark flow blue was at it's apex and desired by many Americans. Such production was once again a cash cow for British, Scottish and Holland factories like Petrius Regout who shipped tons of this to America. Of course the colonies (Canada) were also being consumed by the desire to own such blue. Exports from the British Isles were being received with open arms by Canadians as well. By the 1840-1860 period, Upper and Lower Canada (Ontario & Quebec, after 1867) were the two main importing and distributing areas for these wares.
As we approached the 1880-1920 period, blue and white and flow blue were now being produced on wares that were lighter in weight than the earlier ironstone ware. Factories began to stamp their wares as "semi-porcelain" which in actuality was far from true. The wares were still light weight earthenware or pottery (clay) that was not real "porcelain" but felt and looked like porcelain in appearance except that it was not translucent like true porcelain. Again people still liked blue and white china but with a lighter weight that looked less clunky and more refined at a more affordable price than the fancy and expensive hand-painted porcelains of the time.
By mid 1920s transferware, as we knew it, was coming to an end in favor of quick lithography and hand-painted wares like those of Susie Cooper, Clarice Cliff, Charlotte Rheid and others. By the mid 1930s into the late 1950s, such painters were in vogue and great demand by the consumer of chinaware. Fortunately the collectors, collector clubs and some museums have kept alive the zest for blue and white as an art form of the past with its great history of the wonderful fore-fathers of pottery and porcelain in Europe.
You will see from some of my illustrations the progression from the early 1800s up to the 1940s some of the various examples of British blue and white chinaware. If you wish to read more about "blue and white transferware" check out MEDIA and ARTICLE sections of our website for more articles.
If you wish to see the photos closer up, please click the various photos to enlarge.