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
04 November 2013
Size, quality, condition and subject matter are the ingredients by which Berlin porcelain plaques are judged.
23 September 2013
There are promising signs for the future of the Wedgwood Museum thanks to planning approval given to redevelop the site where it is based near Stoke-on-Trent.
14 October 2013
Estimated to sell for $800-1200, this loving cup combining the talents of William Moorcroft and the San Francisco jewellers Shreve & Co. sold for $27,000 (£17,650) at Clars Auction Gallery in Oakland, California.
31 July 2013
Arousing more immediate interest than anything when Shapes’ catalogue went online, this 16in (40cm) tall Deco period Poole pottery vase bore the impressed mark of Carter Stabler and Adams and the monogram of Truda Carter.
10 October 2013
In January 1862, while draining a field close to the site of Duffield Castle in Derbyshire, workmen from the Kedleston estate happened upon a quantity of ancient pottery shards.
10 June 2013
The Christopher Dresser Society will be launched at Teesside University on June 20.