If you assumed that transferware china (a.k.a. transferware) was just like most other types of fine dinnerware, well, you’re not really wrong! But the term "transferware" is generally used to describe plates made from earthenware and ironstone, types of pottery that are distinct from fine dinnerware made from porcelain. So what is transferware, really? Where does it come from, and what makes it so unique? Keep reading to find out!
What is transferware?
Transferware is a term used to describe pottery that has a pattern applied to it by way of a transfer or imprint. First, a decorative print is transferred from an engraved, inked copper plate to a sheet of paper.
The paper is then applied to a piece of unfired clay pottery (meaning it hasn't yet gone into the kiln), which absorbs the ink from the paper.
Transferware prints are most often produced on earthenware, a type of coarsely grained clay that is abundant in nature. However, transfer prints are also commonly found on ironstone, porcelain and even fine bone china.
Artisan applying a design to earthenware pottery before firing in the kiln. Image c/o Nancy Roberts of Nancy's Daily Dish
What brands are known for transferware china?
What are the most popular transfer patterns and designs?
The is the Indies pattern by Johnson Bros. featuring bold florals and a bird sitting on top of the arrangement.
Castles, Landmarks, Boats and Historic Scenes
This is the Myott Finlandia Pattern by Staffordshire featuring Nordic folk art-looking flowers, vines and scales.
Find examples of these recognizable designs and motifs when you're out and about, or Visit The Brooklyn Teacup to explore our vintage transferware china sets. Find your own collection of vintage, blue and white plates, bowls, teacups, serving pieces, tiered serving trays and more to create your dream tablescape for any occasion.