Saturday, February 5, 2011

Flow Blue China Patterns

Flow Blue Lugano China detail by Selep Imaging
Lugano Flow Blue Plate Detail

Some of my favorite china is blue and white.  I love the combination of cobalt blue with the clean white, ivory, or creamy off whites of the base porcelain.  This combination has resonated with more then just me, and starting in the 1800's, blue and white china from many manufacturers in many patterns were popular with china purchasing customers.
Flow Blue China Astoria Johnson Brothers by Selep Imaging
Astoria Flow Blue China

An important historical subset of blue and white china is called flow blue.  There are many sites that can describe the "how and whys" of flow blue china, but I will just describe flow blue in my own words.  Flow blue china has deep cobalt blue color applied over a white china base, and the chemistry over time has blurred the once crisp lines.  Instead of this manufacturing problem disappointing customers, the resulting dreamier blurry lines have inspired fans and collectors, including me.  
Flow Blue China Lugano Mark by Jeanne Selep Imaging
Lugano Flow Blue China

I wish my photos could show you the beauty of the flow blue plates - the beauty that I see when I hold them in my hands.  The colors from a distance command attention, and then the delicate lines, flowers and scroll work hold your attention when you examine the patterns up close.  The soft blurry lines seems to contradict the cool smoothness of the china itself -- china which is smooth and hard to the touch, and yet known to be fragile, 'breakable'.  Times has 'changed' this seemingly permanent china, and yet the touch of time has been kind.  

I can stare at a single plate for minutes at a time - time many of us rarely have the ability to take.  (OMG, strange...)  I'll point out only a few details to notice in the three photo-mosaics I have assembled here.  The Astoria china photo-mosaic shows details from two different plates on the bottom edge.  There is a large difference in the blurring between the two plates, yet I got them together and believe they were likely to have been purchased originally at the same time.  The Lugano flow blue plate has brush stokes visible in the solid blue background, which I find I enjoy.  And the Brunswick china has dots that have blurred to form the solid blue background.
Flow Blue China plate Brunswick Wood and Son England Mark by Jeanne Selep Imaging
Brunswick Flow Blue China plate
Another fun fact about my collection of flow blue is that most of my flow blue  plates are chipped, crazed and/or flawed.  I call them my collection of chipped and broken plates.  I couldn't/can't afford 'perfect pieces'.  Originally I collected chipped and even broken plates (usually glued together by a previous owner).  I have favorite antique dealers, who have kindly 'given' me/sold me the damaged pieces that they get when buying a set for sale.  (Many of the dealers I know don't typically resell damaged pieces of non rare china, and yet I know one or two that have a hard time throwing out the damaged piece.)  Originally I bought broken plates, intended for mosaic projects that would get me "as close to owning flow blue" as I thought I could ever come.  I would also sometimes get chipped plates, but somehow I couldn't use them in my mosaics, and they started showing up on my plate rail or wall, chips included.  (Sometimes with another plate overlapping a chipped area)  [So, if you have a beautiful damaged or broken china plate, you don't want to keep yet don't want to toss, consider contacting me - I will add them to my collection of chipped and broken china orphans that I cherish.  I don't mind a yellow brown rind of old glue running through the center of a beautiful plate.  I can pay shipping and handling ;)  ]

May we all age as gracefully as this china, be lucky to survive intact, and in our old age find a home where we are cherished and loved. 

Click on the images to see them enlarged.

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I am linking up to these memes:
This is my 11th entry to Mosaic Monday (I was entry 15 of 84.)
Roses for Show off your Cottage Mon (Entry 15 of 47.)
Naps on the Porch for Metamorphis Mon (Entry 73 of 324.)
Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Mon 6 (Entry 57 of 72.)
Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tues 49 (Entry 47 of 183.)
House of Grace for Twice Owned Tues 38 (Entry 12 of 68.)
Colorado Lady for Vintage Thingies Thur (Entry 8 of 50.)
Bloggeritaville for Thrifty Thur 101 (Entry 25 of 124.)
Brambleberry for Time Travel Thur 31 (Entry 8 of 36.)
All Thingz for Anything Related 35 (Entry 79 of ?)
Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration 24 (Entry 18 of 103.) 
Romantic Home for Show and Tell (Entry 84 of 312.)
French Country for Feathered Nest Fri #11 (Entry 1 of 119.)
Hills are Living for Favorite Things Friday (Entry 6 of 105) 
The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home 1 (Entry 19 of 50.) 
My Cottage Charm for Trinkets and Treasures (Entry 5 of 7.)
A Picture is Worth for 2nd Time Around (Entry 7 of 10)
Smiling Sally for Blue Monday (Entry 75 of 86.)


Unknown said...

love that top plate- also love how the blue runs into the whites- looks like a watercolor painting...


Mary said...

Oh so beautiful!!! I know what you mean -- I don't mind a few chips or cracks. The colors and decoration are still lovely. Thanks for sharing at MM. :)

Vee said...

Truly lovely! I enjoyed the commentary as much as the mosaics. Although I have a dear friend who collects flow blue pieces, I never actually knew why it was called that. Thank you for the information.

A Garden of Threads said...

Beautiful pieces, the imperfections add to the beauty.

Ebie said...

Such delicate and pretty pattern! I love the gold trim too!

Snap said...

I do love blue and white....

Pamela said...

Thank y0u so much for visiting my blog and leaving you sweet response. I do so love my blue and white china. Although most of mine is 'transfer ware' instead of flow blu. But I don't think it much matters to use 'blue and white' lovers. I too will by damaged pieces just to make sure they find a safe and happy home. Hopefully in the year to come I'll be able to share more of mu rescues.

Looking forward to seeing more of your collection as well.

Pamela said...

Thank y0u so much for visiting my blog and leaving you sweet response. I do so love my blue and white china. Although most of mine is 'transfer ware' instead of flow blu. But I don't think it much matters to use 'blue and white' lovers. I too will by damaged pieces just to make sure they find a safe and happy home. Hopefully in the year to come I'll be able to share more of mu rescues.

Looking forward to seeing more of your collection as well.

Unknown said...

I love your plates. What a beautiful collection. I like that you have broken plates : ) I love that you see beauty in things that aren't perfect : ) I think some of the most beautiful people in the world are people that are not perfect. Broken is beautiful to me too!

Pondside said...

I have a soft spot for blue and white china too - and included some in this week's mosaic - great minds think alike!

Lana said...

I love these!!! The color is amazing!!!! And I'm so glad that you keep the "imperfect" ones.

There's a metaphor for life in that!!!!


Thoughtfully Blended Hearts said...

Flow blue is gorgeous, I don't blame you for collecting the imperfect ones...I would love to own some pieces also!!!
Have a wonderful day!!!

Pamela Gordon said...

Your flow blue dishes are wonderful! I have many pieces that I use often and they are from 1902, belonging to my grandparents. They are chipped and crazed but I love them. I hope to do a post on them soon. Thanks for the history of them. Pamela

Anonymous said...

They are lovely. Thanks for giving me some insight into them. Very interesting. I like (and can only afford) chipped pretties.

Lisa x

Mary said...

I love it! Thank you linking up to Masterpiece Monday! Have a great week, Mary :O)

Sylvia said...

I've always enjoyed flow blue, have had it on my walls for years but have recently taken it down for the chintz look but now that I see your plates maybe I made a mistake? LOL


LV said...

I have no need for any more dishes, but love all I see. This is truly a beautiful set and the blue so rich and bright.

Susan Freeman said...

I love your blue flow! I am your newest follower. Stop by for a visit sometime.

Susan and Bentley

Vintagesouthernlife said...

Beautiful! I absolutely love flow blue! When I visit the antique shops I am always drawn to it. Unfortunately I only have a few pieces but I keep looking
Enjoy you treasure,

Sarah said...

Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing the interesting details and the great images. ~ Sarah

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Just lovely and thanks for all the information on flow blue girl..Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

Pamela Gordon said...

Hi again, I just posted about my flow blue dishes at Romantic Home's Show and Tell Friday. Have a look. Pamela

The Charm of Home said...

I love flow blue. I don't have any but I gave a really unusual 3-cup piece to my Grandmother for Cmas. It is just gorgeous! I love to see it in plates. Your mosaics are lovely. Thank you for joining me tonight!

My Cottage Charm said...

Hi there! Thanks so much for participating in my Treasures and Trinkets Thursday glad you came! :)
I think flow blue is mom has a whole set, including the casserole bowls, and it's just beautiful! Thanks for sharing yours. :)

Sweet European Dreams said...

LOVE flow blue! I don't collect flow blue (yet!) as we move way too often these days - I would be crushed if they were crushed! I especially like the Lugano that you featured - the gold accents make it sooo dreamy! -diane

Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

Flow blue is so pretty! I love your gorgeous plates- and the one with the gold detailing is absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing at Feathered Nest Friday! :)

Debra@CommonGround said...

Wow, interesting history on flow blue, they really are gorgeous. Thanks for linking up for the party,

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Your collection of Flow Blue is so pretty. I enjoyed learning more about them. I have a love of the chipped and cracked myself. Sometimes I feel like I 'rescue' items like that. So glad you do also. Thanks for joining in JFF this week. Great post! ~~Linda

Marilyn Holeman said...

Hi! I'm visiting from The Shabby Chic Cottage. I, too, love Flow Blue. When my then-fiance and I were shopping for an engagement ring in an antique store nearly 30 years ago, I found a set of six lovely plates. I reached out to pick one up, and the rack pulled out from the wall. The other 5 plates fell like in a slow motion movie--crash after crash. The only one saved was the one in my hand. Tragic! I own that plate. The shop owner graciously told me that her insurance would pay for the rest. And yes, he married me and we are still married--and I still love flow blue. :-)

Kim @ Touch of Nostalgia said...

I had never heard the term 'flow blue' before. I knew I had a small plate from my great grandmother that the blue had faded. It's not perfect either..but I couldn't love it any less than if it was a perfect piece. :) Thank you so much for the lesson on flow blue. :)

Kathy said...

Love Blue and White vintage dishes - I find shards in my garden and keep them in a jar - apparently when broken they thought the shards would aerate the garden.

Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage said...

Gorgeous pieces, Jeanne. Flow Blue is one of my favorites. I have a real weakness for beautiful china of all sorts. That's probably why I have sooo many different collections.

Thanks for joining the party. Be sure to enter the giveaway, if you haven't already done so.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

Donnie said...

I never knew what it was called but I'm like you I love the cobalt blues in these plates. Lovely.

SmilingSally said...

Like you and Donnie, I love cobalt blue!

Happy 1st Blue Monday, Jeanne.

clavs said...

Oh! I love your collections of blue china wares!...

Your newest follower,

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