Press Release

From Print to Plate: Views of the East on Transferware


CONTACT: Charles Schuler

Director of Communications
Communications & Marketing
San Francisco International Airport

From Print to Plate: Views of the East on Transferware
New exhibition features early nineteenth-century blue-and-white transferware with scenes of India, the Middle East, and China

SAN FRANCISCO - July 28, 2016 - Blue-and-white transferware reached its peak in production and popularity in the first half of the nineteenth century.  Staffordshire potters in central England first developed a successful method for transferring designs onto wares using hand-engraved copperplates as early as the mid-eighteenth century.  Designs on wares often featured exotic, distant lands such as India, the Middle East, and China.  A number of superbly illustrated books made by European travelers and artists in the early nineteenth century helped fuel the British public’s fascination with foreign locales.

In an era before photography, over-sized tomes, such as Thomas and William Daniell’s Oriental Scenery (1795–1807), depicted the stunning landscapes and historic architecture of India.  Such volumes featured outstanding examples of aquatints, produced using a printmaking technique that created tonal gradations resembling ink or watercolor washes.  Because effective copyright law did not exist in England before 1842, potters began using images from these scenic publications on ceramics as early as 1810.  Makers rarely copied scenes faithfully; instead, they freely adapted imagery—adding, removing, and even reversing sections of prints.

This exhibition features blue-and-white wares made by Spode and a number of other British potters.  Scenes featured on wares range from famous architectural views of India, such as the Taj Mahal, drawn from A Picturesque Tour along the Rivers Ganges and Jumna in India (1824) to scenes of Turkey and China taken from Views in the Ottoman Empire (1803) and A Picturesque Voyage to India by the Way of China (1810).  The corresponding prints accompany the ceramic wares.

This exhibition was made possible by a generous loan from Michael Sack.

The online version of the exhibition is viewable at:

From Print to Plate: Views of the East on Transferware is located pre-security in the International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby, San Francisco International Airport.  This exhibition is on view to all airport visitors from July 30, 2016, to March 19, 2017.


LECTURE: “Exotic Scenes on Transferware” by Michael Sack
Sunday October 2, 2:00pm
Aviation Museum and Library - Visit for directions.
Bring your International Garage parking ticket to event for free parking validation.

Collector and exhibition partner Michael Sack focuses on early nineteenth-century English ceramics. Michael is the author of India on Transferware, which fully illustrates most of the known scenes of India on blue-and-white wares together with their source prints.  This lecture will focus on specific traveling artists featured in the exhibition, as well as the potteries and their adaptations of the artists’ prints.


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