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Blue Willow China

Blue willow porcelain refers to a distinct and ornate blue-and-white pattern seen on ceramic kitchen and housewares. First designed in 18th century England by Thomas Minton, it quickly became popular and has been used frequently since then. The design was inspired by the porcelain imported from China at the time.

When the East India Company halted its transportation of Chinese porcelain into London, the blue willow pattern satisfied the need for Chinese landscape patterns in England. Around 1790, the Spode factory created the first standard blue willow pattern on pearlware. Because these houseware sets were not imported from China, they were much less costly, and as a result, available to the middle classes.

Several stories were fabricated in order to promote the sale of the blue willow pattern when first created. The most well known of these stories involved two Mandarin star-crossed lovers who were transformed into a pair of doves upon their deaths and depicted in the design of the pattern. The blue willow pattern continues to be recognized by even novice porcelain collectors and used by countless porcelain manufacturers.


Quick Facts

  • The blue willow pattern requires a specific treatment, either applied transfer or stamp known as transferware, which uses transfer printing
  • Prior to the halt of trading with The East India Company, "Chinamen" in London would purchase porcelain from China at auction, then sell it to their wealthiest customers
  • The original blue willow pattern did not have apple trees or doves

Recommended Items at Auction

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Vintage Blue Willow Dinnerware China
Oct 29, 5:00 PM EDT
Vintage Blue Willow Dinnerware China
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $10- $1,000
$252 Bids
ENGLISH SCHOOL The Quarrel
Oct 24, 12:00 PM AEDT
ENGLISH SCHOOL The Quarrel
by Gibson's Auctions
Est: AUD2,000- AUD4,000
AUD1,8000 Bids
STOITZNER, CONSTANTIN: Fischer am Strand.
Nov 05, 9:00 AM CET
STOITZNER, CONSTANTIN: Fischer am Strand.
by Dobiaschofsky Auktionen AG
Est: CHF1,200- CHF1,800
CHF9000 Bids
An Antique Blue Willow Taureen
Oct 24, 1:00 PM EDT
An Antique Blue Willow Taureen
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $125- $1,250
$1250 Bids
An Antique Blue Willow Sugar Container
Oct 23, 1:00 PM EDT
An Antique Blue Willow Sugar Container
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $35- $350
$350 Bids
Lot of 3 Antique Blue Willow Articles
Oct 23, 1:00 PM EDT
Lot of 3 Antique Blue Willow Articles
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $45- $450
$450 Bids
BLUE AND WHITE FIGURE WILLOW-FORM VASE
Nov 13, 12:00 PM PST
BLUE AND WHITE FIGURE WILLOW-FORM VASE
by Jumbo Auction House
Est: $1,500- $3,500
$2000 Bids
Oriental themed signed blue willow ware plate
Oct 28, 11:30 PM EDT
Oriental themed signed blue willow ware plate
by Baker's Antiques and Auctions
Est: $25- $30
$100 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Blue Willow China


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Dobiaschofsky Auktionen AG

Dobiaschofsky Auktionen AG

Mebane Antique Auction

Mebane Antique Auction