The U.S. Congressional Library Flow Blue Commemorative Plate by Frank Beardmore & Co. for Geo. H. Bowman Co., Early 20th Century

This is a vintage plate, decorated with a picture of the U.S. Congressional Library. The plate is finished with a floral border motif. The plate was made by Frank Beardmore & Co., for George H. Bowman Co., circa 1900s.  

This ceramic plate was decorated using the printing process call Flow Blue, a highly collectable method used to adorn antique china in white and blue patterns. Vintage Flow Blue dishware was exceeding popular during the Victorian era. In the late 18th century, Chinese porcelain was extremely sought-after, thanks to their rich and delicately detailed blue patterns hand painted on white backgrounds. However, due to trade prices, Chinese porcelain pieces were expensive and generally limited to the wealthier class.

To mimic the look of Chinese porcelain, English potters created Flow Blue transferware. In this process, a copperplate is engraved with a design and heated. Cobalt oxide is applied to the hot engraved plate, followed by a damp tissue paper laid flat to pick up the oxide. The marked tissue is lifted off the copperplate and applied to the pottery surface. The tissue paper is then washed off, leaving the intricate blue design. While the first Flow Blue patterns incorporated Oriental designs and motifs, eventually Victorian romantic sensibilities created a market for floral and pastoral patterns that highlighted English Culture.

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