U.S. Congressional Library Plate, Staffordshire

Presented is a detailed rendering of the U.S. Library of Congress on a ceramic plate. A decorative ivy border encircles a view of the building from the east. Underneath the scene are the words, “U.S. Congressional Library.” This early 20th century plate is a great example of flow blue transfer print pottery. 

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.


Overall very good condition. The plate has a few inherent imperfections from original production. Hairline cracks throughout, but they do not impact the structural integrity of the plate.

Dimensions: 9.125” Diameter, 1” Depth

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