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Flow Blue China

Flow blue china refers to a type of transfer pottery produced in England by multiple manufacturers around 1820. It was sold mostly in the United States, and while at first glance it appears similar to other blue-and-white pottery such as Blue Willow, flow blue china's blurred finish makes it unique. Manufacturers included Johnson Brothers, Minton, Royal Doulton, and Wedgwood. The objects created were vast and included teapots, plates and platters, toilet wares, vases, and dog bowls.

An interesting characteristic of flow blue china is its blue marble effect. The pattern is blurred in such a way that from afar, it seems to resemble a piece of carved, blue-veined marble. By World War I, U.S. potteries had taken note of American interest in the style and began to produce most of the flow blue porcelain for the domestic market. This in turn caused English potters to exit the flow blue market.

Demand for flow blue china dropped during both World Wars, but interest picked up again in the '60s. Large amounts of flow blue china were shipped into or manufactured in the U.S., making it a fairly sensible porcelain for American collectors.


Quick Facts

  • The name flow blue china derives from the blue glaze that flowed during the firing process, causing the blurred look
  • Most flow blue patterns are transferware, which means the patterns were applied with a paper stencil rather than hand painted
  • Though flow blue china comes in a variety of blue shades, the shade most sought after by collectors is bright cobalt blue

Recommended Items at Auction

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Flow Blue and Flow Mulberry
Dec 10, 9:00 AM EST
Flow Blue and Flow Mulberry
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$253 Bids
Group of English Flow Blue and Historical Transfer Decorated Porcelain
Dec 13, 10:00 AM EST
Group of English Flow Blue and Historical Transfer Decorated Porcelain
by Weschler's
Est: $50- $100
$352 Bids
Group of mostly English Blue Transfer Decorated and Flow Blue Table Articles
Dec 13, 10:00 AM EST
Group of mostly English Blue Transfer Decorated and Flow Blue Table Articles
by Weschler's
Est: $50- $100
$251 Bid
OLD Three Large Flow blue Plates and two Bowls, Marked. 19th century
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
OLD Three Large Flow blue Plates and two Bowls, Marked. 19th century
by Washingtonian Auction
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
ANTIQUE English Flow Blue Platte with flowers, marked on the back. 19th century. 16 1/2" x 12" wide
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
ANTIQUE English Flow Blue Platte with flowers, marked on the back. 19th century. 16 1/2" x 12" wide
by Washingtonian Auction
Est: $100- $20,000
$500 Bids
(2) FLOW BLUE PORCELAIN PORTRAIT PLATES; NAPOLEON
Dec 13, 11:00 AM EST
(2) FLOW BLUE PORCELAIN PORTRAIT PLATES; NAPOLEON
by Westport Auction
Est: $50- $1,000
$500 Bids
Antique Flow Blue or Flow Black Plate
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
Antique Flow Blue or Flow Black Plate
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $50- $500
$500 Bids
Antique Flow Blue or Flow Black Plate
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
Antique Flow Blue or Flow Black Plate
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $50- $500
$500 Bids
A Blue and White Flow Blue Style Plate
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Blue and White Flow Blue Style Plate
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $10- $100
$100 Bids
An Antique 19th Century Flow Blue Ironstone Pottery Plate
Dec 10, 1:00 PM EST
An Antique 19th Century Flow Blue Ironstone Pottery Plate
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $100- $1,000
$1000 Bids
An Antique 19th Century Flow Blue Ironstone Pottery Plate
Dec 10, 1:00 PM EST
An Antique 19th Century Flow Blue Ironstone Pottery Plate
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $100- $1,000
$1000 Bids
A Flow Blue Plate
Dec 10, 1:00 PM EST
A Flow Blue Plate
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $15- $150
$150 Bids
A Signed Flow Blue Plate
Dec 10, 1:00 PM EST
A Signed Flow Blue Plate
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $25- $250
$250 Bids
A Small Stonewear Flow Blue Ewer
Dec 10, 1:00 PM EST
A Small Stonewear Flow Blue Ewer
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $20- $200
$200 Bids
A Pair of Burslem Flow Blue Soup Bowl
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Pair of Burslem Flow Blue Soup Bowl
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $125- $1,250
$1250 Bids
A Pair of Burslem Flow Blue Bread Plates
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Pair of Burslem Flow Blue Bread Plates
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $35- $350
$350 Bids
Lot of 3 Antique Burslem Flow Blue Small Bowls
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
Lot of 3 Antique Burslem Flow Blue Small Bowls
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $75- $750
$700 Bids
An Antique Burslem Flow Blue Bowl
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
An Antique Burslem Flow Blue Bowl
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $80- $800
$800 Bids
A Burslem Flow Blue Cup and Saucer
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Burslem Flow Blue Cup and Saucer
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $125- $1,250
$1250 Bids
A Set of 2 German Flow Blue Bowl
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Set of 2 German Flow Blue Bowl
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $75- $750
$700 Bids
A Lot of 4 Flow Blue Articles
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Lot of 4 Flow Blue Articles
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $35- $350
$350 Bids
Flow Blue Cup and Saucer
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
Flow Blue Cup and Saucer
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $15- $150
$150 Bids
A Flow Blue Stoneware Bucket
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Flow Blue Stoneware Bucket
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $40- $400
$400 Bids
Group of 3 Vintage Hand-Painted Ceramic Plates
Dec 17, 9:00 AM CST
Group of 3 Vintage Hand-Painted Ceramic Plates
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $30- $300
$150 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Flow Blue China


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Weschler's

Weschler's

Washingtonian Auction

Washingtonian Auction

Westport Auction

Westport Auction