Romantic Transferware
Polychrome

TBR11
TBR11

TCG13
TCG13

TBP80
TBP80

TCI75
TCI75

TBP80A
TBP80A

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Romantic Transferware: 1830's and 40's

By 1830's, Staffordshire potters had achieved a high level of mastery in the use of paper "transfer" prints to convey decorative images from engraved copper plates to yet-unglazed ceramic tableware. Changes in transferware production about this time, however, mark a distinct break from the products of the previous decades. Most dramatically, the introduction of new pigments that could reliably stand up to firing temperatures enabled potters to produce a profusion of wares in light blue, red, brown, black, purple, green, and - though quite rare - yellow.

In addition, potters tended to rely less on previously published prints as design sources, and finally in 1842, new copyright laws prohibited such copying. As a result imaginary scenes based on landscape formulas replaced earlier depictions of specific locations, hence the term "Romantic" transferware.

Other traits distinguish the production of this period.

  • A whiter clay body and clearer glaze lead to a greater contrast between the printed color and the bright background.
  • Shapes vary widely from the scallops and curves echoing the Rococo revival in furniture to the faceted angular shapes of the Gothic revival.
  • Elaborate borders feature floral garlands, scrollwork, and often small secondary scenes.
In the 1850's, public demand for transferware declined and potters turned their primary attention to other ventures.