The attraction of blue and white decorated pottery is a lasting legacy that has its roots in ancient Chinese and Islamic ceramics. The fashion for English tin glazed Delftware came over from Holland in the mid 16th century with Dutch and Flemish immigrants. Delftware was extensively produced in London, Liverpool and Bristol. The fashion for blue and white Delfware reached it's height in the William and Mary period with wealthy people commissioning huge many tiered Delft Tulip Vases to display their wealth with expensive and exotic tulips.
Blue and white Chinese ceramics became widely availiable in the 18th century with companies such as the Dutch East India company importing large cargos into Europe.
The transfer method of applying designs began around the 1780's with Sadler in Liverpool, the first decoration was in black and white onto tiles. Later Josiah Spode perfected the processof producing transfer images in blue onto his products. The most well known is 'Italian', but there are many others 'Tiber' and 'Nuneham Courtney' to name but a few.
This method opened the market to less weathy people and continues to this day. Collectors of blue and white are always looking for a less common pattern to add to a growing collection.
Everyone in the UK who lives in an old house has dug in the garden finding fragments of blue and white pottery. Of course the most common pattern to be found is a fragment of the instantly recogniseable blue 'Willow' pattern. This has become an almost national design for tableware in Britain, despite being derived once again from an original Chinese pattern.
Interestingly in central Europe blue and white designs which have become almost a national signature are also based on Chinese originals. In Denmark Royal Copenhagen's famous quartered design on plates is well known and much copied in transfer decoration, as is the 'Onion' pattern that is a national signature in Germany.
Whatever your preference in pattern blue and white is always highly collectable and makes a great display anywhere in the house. Here at Top Banana we always have a great selection of all kinds of design