Furlow Gatewood Design - VerandaFurlow Gatewood Design – Veranda

Transferware are collectible pieces of pottery originating from Great Britain. The earlier plates were all hand painted, until prints could be made from copper plates.

In the 18th century, transferware was highly sought after, and many pieces were quite valuable. The world of transferware is an extensive one, and with thousands and thousands of patterns, a variety of color choices, and so much information on how, when, and where to find valuable pieces–navigation through this fascinating hobby can be a bit overwhelming at first.

If you are new to transferware collecting, here are some tips to keep in mind as you begin to build a collection that’s fun to find and lovely to display.

Importance of Colors and Patterns

Transferware comes in many colors including red, yellow, green, blue, purple, cranberry, pink, brown, gray, and black–and sometimes more than one color will appear on a particular piece.

All colors are desirable, and one isn’t necessarily more valuable than another. The importance of color depends mainly on the collector’s preferences, and some colors may be more popular at one time or another than other colors–shifting back and forth depending on the demand. Although the number of patterns made is unknown, at the very minimum the number is in the thousands.

Databases containing the many patterns are the best places to learn about which patterns are highly collectible, the primary determinant being which ones are the most rare or hardest to find.

Dating Transferware

On the backs of many transferware plates you will find some sort of mark or stamp that will help you date pieces.

  • From 1842 to 1883, pieces were registered with London’s Patent Office, each one bearing a mark to indicate when they were made.
  • After 1884, numbers were used on the back of the plates–making it possible to determine an approximated date that they were made. Other stamped, impressed, or hand-signed indicators of date on transferware pieces include “England” (1890 to 1920), “Made in England” (1920 and on), “limited” (after 1880), and “Trademark” (most likely after 1875).
  • Some pieces have no information on them that would help determine when they were made. In those cases, the body type, pattern, style, and glaze would be examined in order to date unmarked pieces.

Determining Value

The value of transferware is determined by several things.Age, pattern, condition, and demand are some of the factors that make one piece more valuable than another.

Generally, transferware free of chips, cracks, and cut marks are much more valuable than damaged ones. A perfect piece typically sells for much more than a less-than-perfect or restored one–but if the pattern on it is a rare one, some collectors will ignore the condition and pay big bucks to acquire it anyway.

The best way to determine if your transerware is valuable is to take it to an expert and have it appraised.

Authenticating Pieces

One way to authenticate transferware is to look for the faint lines left behind from the transfer paper used to make the pattern. Also, the markings mentioned that indicate the date or place the pottery was made can also verify authenticity.

Places to Find Transferware

There are many places to find transferware–and the search for pieces to add to your growing collection is a big part of what makes this hobby exciting. Transferware can be found online at auction sites, in online antique stores, and on transferware collecting sites where members buy, sell, and trade their pieces. Antique stores, estate sales, and sometimes even flea markets are other great places to find this beautiful pottery.

An interesting history, gorgeous patterns, and elegant style are just a few of the reasons that people enjoy collecting transferware. With the help of these starter tips and a treasure trove of valuable online resources at your fingertips, you’ll be off to a good start on your new transferware collection.

Guest post from Jean Clark. Jean writes

Transferware -Annie Brahler

Transferware –Annie Brahler


Two Color Transferware is unique and harder to find, but well worth the hunt. Early multicolored transferware was achieved by the labor intensive process known as clobbering, or in easy terms -hand-painting applied over the glaze. However, in 1848, an advanced technique allowed three colors to be applied in a single transfer with only one firing. Occasionally, two or three shades, other combinations were also used.


Mix and match dinnerware to suit the red-white-and-blue color scheme. A lidded ironstone tureen sits next to a large flow-blue tureen that has long ago lost its lid. Differing patterns of blue-and-white transferware make up a place setting. From Country Home Magazine


GINGER JAR + Delphiniums Home Beautiful – Our Favorite Flowers and Arrangements

House and Garden ~ Whitney FairchildHouse and Garden ~ Whitney Fairchild


Blue and White Transferware From Country Home Magazine

Alberto Pinto

Alberto Pinto

Mark Hampton

Seen On Mark Hampton


Blue Willow Tea Set – Buy It On Amazon

Blue Willow Transferware

During the 18th century there was a wave of popularity of Chinese hand-painted chinoiserie.

The many patterns of Chinese landscapes and scences made their way on hand panted wallpaper, chinoiserie furniture, and of course on the china.

The most famous transfer ware pattern was developed in the late 18th century by Thomas Minton of the Caughley Factory in Shropshire, England. His Blue Willow pattern combined Oriental images into a romantic scene that has been manufactured for over 220 years .

The Spode factory produced the pattern in England in the late 1790s that turned to be popular in England, but also in America. It was found that Blue and white were the most popular colors for dishes in the 19th century from historical sites.

In fact many people are avid collectors of the Blue Willow Pattern today. The Blue Willow pattern is not an exact copy of a Chinese pattern but features several traditional Chinese designs. The pattern has changed in variations over time but the basic elements are the temple or palace, a footbridge with three people, a boat with another figure, a willow tree, and the two birds.

What is the story behind the Blue Willow Pattern?

The pattern tells of two ill-fated Chinese lovers.

The story has several variations, (as I am sure all stories this old)but the basic story line remains the same. A beautiful young girl from a prominent family falls in love with her father’s clerk. They are prevented being married and so decide to elope. Her father pursues them , as some stories may say. In other versions, they are killed by fire. The story end with the fantasy fairytale of two lover transformed into love birds,which continue their love.

Blue Willow Lamp weblg

Blue Willow Transferware DIY Lamp Featured On
Blue Willow

Blue Willow Tea Set - Buy It On Amazon

Blue Willow Tea Set – Buy It On Amazon

Blue Willow Platters


Axel Vervoordt

Axel Vervoordt

Spode Transferware

Spode company first began producing English pottery in the 1700s.

Its factory, situated in Stoke-on-Trent since 1770, is still in operation, and its methods of production have been modified only slightly.

Transferware patterns continue to be created with handcrafted copper plates and hand-rubbed transfer sheets, and the earthenware is still made with ingredients that have been used since 1820.

Even the popularity of Spode’s Blue Italian earthenware has not diminished; it has been in continuous production since its introduction in 1816.

Spode’s signature blues were a response to the late-1700s demand for Chinese porcelain, which was becoming increasingly difficult to obtain from Canton. During the 1820s and ’30s, variety became popular so the company introduced patterns in greens and pinks.

Phoebe Howard

Phoebe Howard


Black Transferware

There is much evidence that black transferware was produced as early as 1752, although most of the black transferware was produced during the Aestentic movement.

Popular in multi-colored patterns, the neutral color combined well with many colors.

The color was extremely popular with pottery, and followed suit with its popularity in transferware.

Is it important for Transferware to have the maker’s name on it?

No, infact, many pieces that are made by unknown artists are very much collectable. Transferware value is determined by demand, date, quality of the printing, and rarity. Unmarked transferware can be difficult to determine its origin, but you can often trace a piece, or make a guess on the , glaze, styling and decoration technique. Our motto is collect what patterns you love, and they become valuable in your eyes.

Here are some quick tips:

  • -Transferware patterns made between 1842 and 1883 were registered with the Patent Office in London, and have a date registration mark on the back of the plate.
  • – The word “Limited” (or an abbreviation such as “Ld.” or “Ltd.”) in the pottery firm’s name indicates a date after 1860 and was not generally used until the 1880s.
  • -Any piece having the word “Trade Mark” was manufactured after the Trade Mark Act of 1862, and is known to have a manufacture date after 1875.
  • -After 1884, the registry adopted a single number series, e.g., “Rd. No. 12342”, which today can be used to determine a pattern registration date to within approximately one year. Registration numbers greater than 360,000 indicate a date after 1900.
  • – Transferware patterns made between 1890 and 1920 usually has ‘England’ printed on the back which were to comply with the Mckinley Tariff Act. “Made In England” indicates 20th Century origins.
  • – Transferware patterns made after 1920 reveal the mark is ‘Made In England’.

Transferware ProcessPhoto Credit Nick Pope TransferwareCountry Living

Before the transferware process of printing was developed, each piece would be hand decorated. The process of producing one set was laborious and costly.

Once the mass production of transfer printing came about, middle class families could enjoy dinnerware sets similar to that found in the higher class families but at an affordable price.

The transfer printing process was developed by John Sadler and Guy Green of Liverpool in 1756. An engraved copper plate was used to print the pattern on tissue paper, then the tissue paper transfered the wet ink to the ceramic surface. The pottery is then dipped in water to float off the paper, glazed, and re-fired.  The ceramic is then set into a kiln to fix the pattern. Transfer printing was originally only produced in single-colors only.  Brown was regarded to be the least expensive color, while blue was the most popular, and on the other end, the most expensive color.


Red and Cream Transferware Victorian Country Toile Plate Ebay Seller Livingezee

Mix and match your patterns to make it more interesting. Set your table with several different transferware patterns in the same color. If you do use your transferware for daily use, be sure to protect the glaze by hand washing your dishes. Avoid serving any foods that have a natural stain, and do not use knives on your transferware.

Purple Transferware

Purple transferware can come in a hue of shades from a blush rose to a pink through to a lavender to deep wine. Many collectors refer to purple transferware as “mulberry,” the color is known as purple. For a lighter shabby chic look, to a English green formal cigar room, the color purple can be that extra punch you are looking for.



Designer Jackye Lanham is known for her luxurious interiors that combine both color and comfort. She believes that a successful design not only includes collections, but has layers of details that encompass a room. Wallpaper, drapes, furniture and finally accessories are all layers which if carefully chosen and edited can make a grand impact and a bold statement.

Lanham tells Southern Accents that “European manor houses and castles had whole sets of ceramics on the walls,” Lanham explains. “The displays were a show of wealth in the same way that armaments in the entry hall were a show of power”

  • Lanham suggests to start with a color palette. Fabrics should flow from one room to another and objects should be interesting. Lanham is known for her extravagance so it is no wonder that she suggests collecting silver, pottery and porcelain which all reflect the light and are brilliant all on their own.
  • Think about layering in collections which have exquisite ornate appeal such as transferware, tortoiseshell, walnut burl, and ebony. Consider limestone flooring and detailed marble counter tops that pull the eye to the detail of the natural beauty.
  • Tantalizing textures such as gold and silver in vases, frames, or cutlery can go a long way to adding in the splendor of the room.Transferware is known for its flaunting elegance and florid detail which can go a long way to dressing up any room.


-Creating a design using transferware can be an overwhelming endeavour. Lanham suggests a solution to working with odd shapes and sizes to first create a pattern such as you would see on fabric like damask or chintz.

-You will first need a location that would best suit the collection. Start with producing an uncomplicated shape such as a circle, fan, rectangle or square. She says that in formal settings, it could be important to create a pattern with even amounts of pieces, but you can also arrange pieces in odd numbers such as rows of three in a grid pattern.

-Atlanta designer Dan Carithers, gives a very practical tip that he always lays out the pattern on the floor in an area that corresponds in size to the wall he is composing for the ideal working space. Doesn’t that make sense? Sketching the overall look on a piece of paper can allow you to put the plates away and continue collecting until the overall design has been met. London designer

-Jane Churchill also goes through a similar design process….” place the plates on the floor within these measurements, and then move them around until I’m happy with the arrangement.”

-Dallas designer Beverly Field plans the design on the floor, and then hangs the middle piece first. “Decide if you want to work smaller plates inside the geometry you’ve made,” she says. “It all fits together like a jigsaw puzzle.”