Entranced By Transferware!


It started innocently enough. I Tweeted a picture of a serving dish from The Hart and the Hunter and asked, “If I want to find a plate like this on E-Bay, what would I search for?” (OK, ending a sentence with a preposition isn’t so innocent, but go with me here.) A few people responded: “Transferware.” I Googled Transferware, to get a definition, and Wikipedia offered: “A style of ceramics including pottery, dinnerware, and other delicate items. It uses transfer printing, a decorative technique which was developed in England in the mid-18th century, particularly around the Staffordshire region.” Then I started searching for Transferware plates on E-Bay and I haven’t been able to stop since.

“What are you doing?” Craig asked me a few days ago.

“Looking at Transferware plates on E-Bay,” I responded.

“That’s weird,” he said.


Then, yesterday, the same question and the same response from me yielded: “That’s REALLY weird.”

Here’s the thing: I used to have a collection of funky, unusual plates from Fish’s Eddy. Then I bought more conservative plates there with my mom, a few years later. Finally, I decided to heed the advice of the Canal House ladies and buy simple white plates to make the food pop (Sound of Music plate notwithstanding.)


In terms of food photography, these white plates have done wonders for the pictures on my blog. Especially in daylight (see The Golden Salad, for example). But in terms of FUN, these plates are a little boring. Which is why the Transferware bug bit me so vehemently last week and why I’ve been searching for funky transferware plates non-stop, and put a bid in for the Dish and the Spoon plate that you see at the top of the post and the Joan of Arc plate you see right about this (the Disneyland plate I let slide).

Also, I just went ahead and bought this New York World’s Fair plate because it just seemed so cool:


And this peacock plate because it reminded me of the plate that got me into Transferware in the first place (sorry the picture sucks; they took down the original pictures once I bought it):


Sorry to say, I did not bid on or buy this Martha Washington plate, but that’s good news for you–it means it’s still out there:


The moral of the story is that life is too short for plain white plates, even if they make the food pop. I am a man who’s become entranced by Transferware and now my table will be a funky plate paradise and everyone’s going to say “Where did you get that?” and I’ll have to say, “Clearly you don’t read my blog.” Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some plate shopping to do.