Clarice Cliff TransferwareInterests | September 26, 2015 | Nik Manojlovich
Our photo of a Weekend at the Cottage breakfast received tons of likes. The china plate the meal was served on also piqued our readers’ interest. Here’s everything you need to know about CLARICE CLIFF TRANSFERWARE.
I found this set of china at a local antique store a month after we purchased the cottage. It was jammed into the bottom of a display hutch, and I would have missed it entirely if the unusual mulberry colour hadn’t caught my eye. I remember flipping one of the plates over to look at the hallmark, and my heart skipped a beat: Clarice Cliff transferware. Sweet!
Transferware is the term used for pottery or china pieces that have been decorated by transfer printing. The process was developed in England in the mid-18th century, around the Staffordshire region. Twentieth century manufacturers include Enoch Wood, Royal Staffordshire, Royal Crownford, Spode, Johnson Brothers, and many more.
The process starts with an engraved copper plate, similar to those used by stationers for making invitations or paper engravings. The copper plate is used to first print the pattern onto tissue paper. With the ink still wet, the printed tissue paper is then laid onto the ceramic surface, transferring the image. The ceramic pieces are then fired in a kiln at low temperature kiln to set the pattern. After a glaze has been applied, it is fired a second time.
This service was produced by Royal Staffordshire. The pattern was designed by Clarice Cliff and is called Tonquin. Other patterns include Rural Scenes, Peaceful Summer and Charlotte. Unlike this NOVELTY TEAPOT, also designed by Clarice Cliff, this china service was made for the masses and comes in a wide range of colours including blue, brown, red, green, black, and the distinctive mulberry.
I’ll go on record admitting that not everyone is as enamoured by Clarice Cliff transferware as I am. Friends make fun of me for having “Nik Gramma Plates”, but I don’t mind. They’re unusual, durable, and I think reflect a vintage cottage vibe.
I’ve posted a few photos of this service to better show how truly amazing it is. I particularly like the photo of the teacup showing the CRAZING . Crazing is a network of lines or cracks in the fired, glazed surface. It happens when a glaze is under tension and a craze pattern can develop immediately after removal from the kiln or, years later.
Here are some tips on what to look for if you feel inspired to collect transferware:
1) If purchasing a complete set of dishes, look for a pattern that reflects your tastes. Some patterns are busier than others so select one that works for you.
2) A china service often comes with numerous pieces, so more is always better. Try to select a service that has dinner, salad, dessert, and bread and butter plates, plus soup bowls, mugs, cups and saucers, and service pieces.
3) I suggest sticking to one colour of transferware. My cousin Linda has an incredible collection with many assorted pieces all made by many different manufacturers, BUT all the pieces are printed in brown. The look is amazing.
If you already have a set of transferware, or a piece that you absolutely love, please forward a photo to: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll create a little member gallery for everyone to enjoy!
UPDATE: Member Photo Gallery!!!
Thanks to Debbie for forwarding her photo of the TONQUIN pattern produced in multi-colour. Then, check out the photos from Terry. Her Cliff pattern is called RURAL SCENES. Next up, my cousin Linda who collects only brown transferware – good eye!!!!
Because the process of transferring an image onto ceramics became all the rage in the 18th century, we are gifted with distinctive designs that still stand the test of time!
Listening to great music is an important part of every Weekend at the Cottage! I listened to Bach: English Suites No. 2 & 3 and Scarlatti: 4 Sonatas – Ivo Pogorelich while taking these photos and writing this post. All in all the entire process was pretty sweet! Visit iTunes to add this music to your collection.