A-Z of Ceramics - T is for Transfer Printing
Transfer printing is a way of reproducing two-dimensional designs on ceramics. At its best it results in high-quality decoration at a low cost per unit. The design is printed onto a sheet of tissue paper or a thin pliable layer of gelatin (animal glue), by means of which it is then transferred onto the surface of the ware.
The technique was in use at Birmingham in 1751, though it appears to have been practised at the Doccia factory near Florence in the previous decade. 18th-century transfers were made from both paper and pliable sheets of animal glue (or gelatin), but only paper transfers could be used for printing 'blue and white wares'. During the 19th century gelatin transfers were superseded by tissue paper. This type of work is best exemplified by the familiar Willow Pattern.