My paternal grandparents started me on a collection that is one of my favorites, and one of my most valuable!
I have already told all of my family members that if they give this stuff away after I kick the bucket, I will be back to haunt them!
Flow Blue is the name applied to china of cobalt blue and white, whose color, when fired in a kiln, produced a flowing or blurred effect. The color varies from dark royal cobalt blue to navy or steel blue. The flow may be very slight to a heavy blur, where the pattern cannot be easily recognized. The blue color does not permeate through the body of the china. The amount of flow on the back of a piece is determined by the position of the item in the “sagger” (a case of fire clay) during firing.
Known patterns of flow blue were first produced around 1830 in the Staffordshire area of England. Credit is generally given to Josiah Wedgwood, who worked in that area. Many other potters followed, including Alcock, Davenport, Grindley, Johnson Brothers, Meakin, Meigh and New Wharf. They were attempting to imitate the blue and white wares brought back by the ship captains of the tea trade.
Early flow blue, 1830s to 1870s, was usually of the pearlware or ironstone variety. The later patterns, 1880s to 1900s, and the modern patterns after 1910, were of the more delicate semi-porcelains. Most flow blue was made in England but it was made in many other countries, as well. Germany, Holland, France, Spain, Wales and Scotland are also known locations. Many patterns were made in the United States by several companies: Mercer, Warwick, Sterling and the Wheeling Pottery to name a few.
The patterns I have are:
“Marechal Neil” by W.H. Grindley, circa 1895
“Dainty” by John Maddock and Sons, circa 1896
“Touraine” by Henry Alcock and Co., circa 1891
Having a house built in 1880, I like knowing that the china I will be using as my formal stuff will be age appropriate for my house!
My grandparents gave me three platters to start my collection. These babies go for about $300-$500 retail. Eek!!
Here’s some of my platters…
Here is a closeup of my favorite platter…
Here are some of my plates…
My collection is a mishmash, but I kind of like it that way! I have been piecing it together as I find pieces that won’t kill my budget. Two years ago, I found some crazy person on Craigslist selling a huge collection for a couple hundred bucks. I immediately called my husband and told him what he was getting me for Mother’s Day!