Welcome to our newest page. Here you will find stories about the Antique Gallery, the dealers, interesting and unique pieces, and background information about antiques in general.
Learning about Transferware
As a child I was given a wonderful little blue and white china tea set that I used in practicing to be a clever hostess for my friends. I have always been drawn to the grown-up version and wanted to know more about it. I imagined it was made in China or Japan due to usual depictions of oriental life yet the markings on the bottom read “English china”.
However, I was surprised to learn that it isn’t about China or Japan or even England exactly, it is more about the method used to make the designs.
The included article will tell you some of the basics and you can then enjoy searching for the variety of examples seen at the Antique Gallery of Houston.
What is Transferware?
Transferware is the term given to pottery that has had a pattern applied by transferring the print from a copper plate to a specially sized paper and finally to the pottery body. While produced primarily on earthenware, transfer prints are also found on ironstone, porcelain and bone china. Ultimately, many thousands of patterns were produced on tens of millions of pieces. The process was developed in the second half of the 18th century in response to the need of the newly emerging British middle class for less expensive tableware. Many factories claim responsibility for the origin of the process, but, in fact, it was probably a combination of men and materials that came together in the English county of Staffordshire, where there had been pottery making since the 16th century. A combination of raw materials, men of science such as Spode and Wedgwood, cheap labor and new canals that connected Staffordshire to the major ports of Liverpool and London, made the transferware production possible and profitable.
At first, the transfer patterns were copied from the blue and white Chinese designs found on the hand-painted porcelain that was popular in the 18th century. At the turn of the 19th century, while potters were still using Chinese patterns as their primary source for inspiration, they began to incorporate European features into these designs. By the 1820s, arguably the golden age of transfer printed pottery, the number of potteries grew and thousands of patterns were printed to tempt any available market. The English may have lost the War of 1812, but their potters were ready to sell pottery with patterns lauding the new American nation to the American market. Important buildings, landscapes and war heroes are just a few of the patterns that appealed to Americans. There were many foreign markets, as well as the home market, to keep the potters busy.
The new technology, fueled by the Industrial Revolution, made Staffordshire the center for pottery making and development for more than 200 years. Although it has been estimated that approximately 90 per cent of British transferware was manufactured in Staffordshire, other areas of Great Britain such as Leeds, Liverpool, Swansea and Scotland were also producing transferware patterns for the mass market. It is only since the 1990s that the pottery industry has mainly moved its production off shore and out of Great Britain.
an excerpt from transcollectorsclub.org
Your Dealers at the Antique Gallery of Houston
What a great group of people to work with!!! Maybe it’s because they have a few things in common like a love of unique and beautiful treasures. Dealers are always on a quest to find the most perfect items for their booths. They seem to love to decorate and arrange and rearrange. Conversation and stories are an important part of what they do as well, not only with their customers but with each other. They share their own memories and experiences. They tell about great bargains they have seen or acted upon. They offer newcomers advice. They share triumphs and tragedies. Dealers are friends that enjoy the company of each other and their old and new customers. They know each others politics and grandchildren. Dealers seem to be great cooks with great recipes to share so they even wrote a cookbook together.
You can always tell who the dealers are. They are that little group sitting together in the restaurant where the laughter keeps breaking out. Or they are huddled over the treasures another dealer is unpacking. Dealers always smile and ask if they can help you or engage you in small talk. They admire your children or your dog or your hat. They don’t need to wear name tags. You will know who they are.