The advent of underglaze transfer printing, perfected at the
Spode factory in Stoke-on-Trent in 1784, marked a key moment in the
history of British ceramics.
Different from the simple overglaze 'bat' printed wares produced
at the Worcester and Caughley factories from the 1750s, Spode's
ingenious method involved first the engraving of a design
onto a copper plate, second the transfer of the 'print' to the
biscuit-fired ware using a cobalt compound and gummed tissue, and
finally glazing and a second firing.
At the time it was said that just two 'printers' could produce
the same volume of decorated pottery as 100 painters. Importantly,
as the technology spread to countless other factories from
Staffordshire to Scotland, underglaze transfer printing permitted
mass production and - combining utility with ornament - were
affordable to a larger proportion of Georgian and Victorian
And today it is perfectly possible to eat your Sunday roast off
a 150-year-old blue printed meat platter that should cost under
From the ATG Archive
23 January 2010
This graduated pair of Staffordshire shaped oval meat platters are printed in green with scenes from the rare and desirable ‘Arctic Scenery’ series.
22 November 2003
David Drakard is well known for his contribution to our knowledge of British ceramics both as a longstanding member of the English Ceramic Circle and as the author of two books on blue printed wares.
22 November 2003
This unmarked mid-19th century chamber pot was one of the choice lots in the mixed-vendor section of Dreweatt Neate’s recent sale.
ATG Site Search
13 May 2013
Maybe I’m biased, but I find it hard to think of a more diverse, passionate, interesting and occasionally downright bonkers bunch of people than antiques dealers.
01 March 2013
For the art and antiques world, New York in the spring increasingly means turning attention to the East.
22 April 2013
Say the name Sister Wendy Beckett and most people will immediately picture the unique figure of the elderly nun as she tours the world’s art galleries, talking intensely to the TV camera.
25 February 2013
The 50th anniversary of the founding of the Troika Pottery in St Ives has inspired a new book and exhibition which has shone the spotlight on this collecting field.
15 April 2013
Among the most elusive of all Royal Doulton HN series figures is the curious model of a winged cherub astride a crocodilian known simply as ‘Boy on a Crocodile’.
14 February 2013
Sherborne auctioneers Charterhouse posted a new house record today when this 16.5in (42cm) maiolica istoriato charger sold for £460,000.