Monday, October 22, 2007

Antique Transferware of Europe

With its striking patterns, rich colors, and romantic patterns, it's no wonder English transferware has stood the test of time. From its onset in the late 1700's to the late 1800's, transfer-printed earthenware was developed as an affordable alternative to hand-painted wares from China. Transfer-printing patterns could be applied easily and repeatedly for the working-class who saved to buy a piece at a time.
The first color was blue; later came brown, black, purple, green, red and even pink and yellow.
In the early 1800s, dinners were usually served a la française, that is, with most of the food set out on the table beforehand which is why there are so many purpose-specific pieces in a transferware set.

Important Facts
  • Pattern Marks - upend pieces of early transferware will include the factory's name (or initial). Use a guide to help track down both the maker and approximate date of the piece.
  • The Rarest - yellow is the rarest romantic transferware color and is also the priciest.
  • The Process - once a master pattern was engraved on copper, it was glazed with color and transferred to thin paper, which was then applied in sections to a piece.

Transferware is highly collectible and can be used as display or for fine dining.

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