"There's joy without
canker or cork
There's a pleasure
Tis to gloat on the glaze
and the mark
Of china that's ancient
Andrew Lang, from the
Ballad of Blue China
I have been collecting Antique Flow Blue ( also called Flo Blue) for almost ten years. I found my first piece at my favourite Antique Mall, "Southworks Antiques Mall", in Cambridge, Ontario. It was a beautiful,hexigonal shaped plate and I just fell in love with it, and had to have it.
Here's the little beauty.
"Flow Blue" is the term used to describe ceramic items which have been decorated with blue underglaze designs and have a smudged or blurred appearance rather than a sharp, clear pattern. The blue color "flows" or "bleeds"onto the body of the piece at the time the glaze decoration is fired in the kiln. This method of decorating ceramics originated in historic Staffordshire, England sometime in the late 1820's. China decorated in this manner was inexpensive, mass-produced and and regarded as utilitarian china, with most of the production exported to the United States. It was not really considered as fine china, rather ,
everday- use china, so it is quite pleantiful and therefore very collectible. Because the Victorians used this china on a daily basis, most pieces show signs of wear and tear. I find this appealing though, and it makes it more affordable . If you do come across a perfect or rare piece, it is usually very expensive. These are not the pieces that I'm interested in collecting. I look for pieces that have interesting shapes and borders. Usually I buy small plates and bowls or pitchers that I can display on my dining room wall and in my beautiful dish cabinet made from vintage refurbished wood and glass ( that will be another post ).
I recently purchased a book on Ebay called " Gaston's Flow Blue China the Comprehensive Guide
This is the book, and it is a really good guide to making sure you find authentic pieces. Usually, I can get a better price if I find a piece that is not necessarily authentic, but I still like the shape or color.
Here's how I display my collection on my dining room walls and in my dish cabinet.
|This is one of the walls in my Dining Room|
|This is above the door in the Dining Room- these two plates were purchased in Old Quebec City on my honeymoon.|
Here are some additional pieces that are not authentic "Flow Blue", but I love them anyways. I display these pieces with my French Countryside dishes from Mikasa ( all wedding gifts ).
|This casserole was purchased in an antique store somewhere near Grafton Ontario- I can't remember the name.|
|The pitcher was part of a washing stand set- but the bowl was broken. It was purchased at an antique fair at the Convention Centre in Etobicoke, Ontario.|
|Here's a close-up of the casserole on top of my French Countryside dinner dishes.|
Here are some more close-ups of my treasures.
These two plates were bought at an antique shop in Old Quebec City during my honeymoon three years ago. I think I paid $150 for both.
These three tiny plates were actually antique butter-pats and I had to hot-glue a hook on the back to hang them. They are not " Flow Blue China", but soooo cute. And the vintage frame around them really makes the display, I think.
This plate was purchased at an antique store called "Cabin in the Woods", in Gravenhurst, Ontario. It has some small chips in it, and a stain on it, but this made the price more reasonable.
This platter was also purchased at "Southworks Antique Mall" in Cambridge, Ontario. Again, you can see it is not perfect, and has signs of wear around the edges.
This plate and matching bowl was purchased at an antique mall in Mohawk reservation country between my home and Kingston,Ontario.
I absolutely looooove this plate- it actually has a translucent look to it and you can almost see through the white porcelain in real life. This was also purchased at " Southworks Antique Mall". I love the trim around it.
I'm not sure if this is "Flow Blue China", but I love the pattern. The inscription on the back says "Teutonic", and it has a stamp, but I can't find any reference to it in my book. If anyone knows anything about this particular pattern, I would love to here from you.
This is another tiny butter-pat, but I'm not sure if it's authentic "Flow Blue".
I love the symmetry of the border pattern on this one.
I saved the best for last- this is my absolute favourite piece and I found it this spring- once again at "Southworks Antiques Mall". I love all the different textural borders surrounding the pattern. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this plate. And best of all- my mother bought it for me, so it was free.
Here is an example of the stamping on the back that you use to identify what the pattern is.
Here are close-ups of the two pieces in the dish cabinet.
Well, I hope this has been informative and maybe you'll be inspired to start collecting "Flow Blue China". If you have any pieces you'd like to share, I'd love to see them.
Bye til next time. Au Revoir.