Blue and White: British Printed Ceramics

On January 31 2015 we are opening a display about blue-and-white printed ceramics. A strongly British phenomenon originating in the 18th century, this display features the wide variety of designs and decoration that continue to appeal to potters, artists and consumers today.

This blog will take you behind the scenes as we prepare for the display and give further insights about the ceramics featured in the show from the V&A collections, the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, the Spode Museum Trust, the Wedgwood Museum, private collections, contemporary artists, factories and designers.

The display has been generously supported by The Headley Trust.

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Blue and White: Products

Bluebellgray chair

Many of the designs for products we see in our high street stores and online come from historical references. The blue and white Willow pattern not only influenced our fashion industry (see Blue and White: Fashion), it also continues to influence our product design industry today. If we move away from ceramics for a moment and […]

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Blue and White: Fashion

Dr Martens 2015

Blue and white has become one of the most popular colour combinations in history. This classic colour palette originated in Asian ceramics in the 9th century. These ceramics spread across Europe and influenced 16th century Delftware and the Willow pattern created by British manufacturers in the late 18th century. It was also during the 18th […]

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To the source


In a recent post for the display Blue and White: British Printed Ceramics Florence Tyler posed the question ‘Can a display exist without objects?’. Well there are certainly ceramics in the display, you will be pleased to know, but there are some things missing: the original artworks that inspired the ceramic decoration.       The V&A Ceramic Galleries were built […]

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To the left, to the left: Installation Part 2

Florence pushing a trolley of objects through the gallery

Can a display exist without objects? (One of the big philosophical questions of our time). I think not. So with the cases clean, loan objects condition checked and labels installed, we were ready to embark on the most exciting part of the process: installing the objects! This involved lots of trips back and forth from […]

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Stepladders, Spode and a Squeegee: Installation Part 1

Curator Rebecca Wallis stands on a stepladder cleaning the wall case

The time has come to install the Blue and White display! Last week we said goodbye to the previous Gallery 146 show of Simon Carroll’s work, which has now been shipped off to the Ruthin Craft Centre in Wales. This has left the gallery empty and ready for us to start creating a mesmerising world […]

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Richard Brendon: Contemporary blue-and-white ceramics

© Richard Brendon - Willow Gold Lifestyle

I am excited to be exhibiting some of my work in Blue and White: British Printed Ceramics at The Victoria and Albert Museum. A London based designer and British bone china specialist, I pride myself on producing contemporary ceramics that fit my ethos of being considered, refined and dynamic designs.   My inquisitive nature has led me to […]

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The Potteries Willow

Detail of the Potteries Willow © Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent.

The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, is very pleased to be able to lend a number of pieces from its collection to Blue and White: British Printed Ceramics. One of the pieces chosen is a plate decorated with The Potteries Willow pattern. This pattern was designed by Peter Brears (better known as a food […]

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Scottish Ceramics in Singapore

European ceramics on display at the Malay Heritage Centre

My first encounter with Scottish ceramics was during a study trip to Singapore in 2012. A group of European ceramics on display at the Malay Heritage Centre had caught my eyes. The curator said that they were recovered from the current site, formerly a Malay royal palace, during two archaeological excavations in 2000 and 2003. […]

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‘Here be Dragons’

Made in Staffordshire, about 1810-1820
	Mark: imitation of a Chinese emblem, printed in blue
Lead-glazed earthenware

This is one of the most striking pieces of ceramics that will be in the forthcoming V&A display Blue and White: British Printed Ceramics   The dragon on this earthenware soup plate appears to be swirling in the air ferociously grasping a flaming shell-like object in its claws. It is highly unlikely the decorator of this object […]

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Back to School

Satirical print, seven men standing in front of the window of Darly's print shop looking at his caricature publications in the window. 14 July 1772 Etching

© The Trustees of the British Museum

Continuing preparation for the forthcoming V&A display Blue and White: British Printed Ceramics I went back to school last week, well a ceramics summer school at Ellesmere College in Shropshire. The Northern Ceramic Society generously sponsored a bursary for me to attend as this year the programme was particularly relevant; ‘The Curious Art’: Printing on […]

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