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Flow Blue Porcelain is now a recognized category of antique porcelain that originated in the English region of Staffordshire.Flow Blue developed into a major porcelain category that can be attributed to the emerging English middle-classes of the late 1700s. The real roots of Flow Blue porcelain are firmly planted in early English pottery making, and how it grew into a major pottery category can be traced straight to manufacturers efforts to meet rising consumer demand.Flow blue popularity was due to the rise in prosperity of the English middle-class, and the expansion of the American export market in the early to mid-1800s.

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The efforts of English potters to imitate Chinese porcelain and serve this new market demand resulted in the creation of Flow Blue Porcelain.

As the demand for porcelain grew, more and more potteries opened up to meet that demand and the hub of this new activity was the English region of Staffordshire.

Many of the famous names that we recognize today, started in Staffordshire including Spode, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, and of course the Staffordshire potters.

There were two main reasons that the use of cobalt blue and the design-transfer process was such a success: a) The physical properties of cobalt oxide caused it to bleed, or flow, when fired in the kiln, which helped to cover minor blemishes in the pottery blank b) This flow or bleeding of the blue coloring produced designs that resembled the designs used on more expensive porcelain.

Previously, early English pottery was primarily Delftware, but as the Staffordshire pottery industry grew, and the use of local Devonshire clay produced new porcelain formulations, the potters changed to a new more durable and more porcelain-like product called creamware, (also known as hard-paste porcelain or Ironware).

English pottery makers had been trying to develop a better porcelain product as an alternative to expensive Chinese porcelain all along But it was the concentration of the ceramics industry in Staffordshire, near the source of Devonshire clay, and the introduction of the new formulation that produced creamware. It was a key contribution to ceramics development and was exported and copied throughout Europe.

Its introduction spurred the use of the flow blue process as a porcelain product that could satisfy the demands of this new and emerging market.

It wasn’t long before the majority of potters were using this highly desireable combination for most of their production.

He used cobalt blue and the transfer printed design process to mimic the look & quality of Chinese porcelain and produced a creamware that he named Queens Ware He utilised a combination of cobalt blue oxide that produced an elegant blue coloration, which together with the use of the transfer-print process, proved to be the key to manufacturing a product that could successfully compete with the quality of the more costly imported porcelain.

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