When you work with an avid collector like Annie, you’re bound to come across all sorts of fabulous treasures. During a meeting the other day, we couldn’t take our eyes off her collection of transferware, which occupies places of honor both in her office, pictured here, and at home. With its bold indigo hue, variety of shapes, and intricate patterns, transferware is a natural for inspiring all sorts of home décor. And since blue area rugs continue to be one of Dash & Albert’s perennial best-sellers, we thought, Why not start at the bottom (of the room, that is)?
Transferware was first developed in England in the mid-1700s, as an alternative to pricey hand-painted ceramics from China. First an engraver etched the master pattern into a sheet of copper. Then the pattern was inked and transferred onto a fine paper. This paper was painstakingly applied, section by section, to the unfired ceramic piece, which absorbed the color. After the paper was removed, the ceramics were glazed and fired, resulting in striking plates, bowls, pitchers, platters, boxes, and more. The pattern could be reused many times over to fulfill the demand for more affordable yet still rich-looking pottery.
This plate, featuring a Chinese pastoral scene within a floral “frame,” with a scalloped border around the edges, is one of Annie’s favorite transferware designs. The lack of defined seams between the pattern sections makes it an especially fine example of the art, and the high-contrast blue-and-white palette is an attention grabber. Inspired by the pointed structures of the pagodas—a beautiful counterpoint to all the flowing, organic shapes around the edges of the pattern—Annie paired this transferware plate with the Dash & Albert French Blue/Ivory woven cotton area rug. It’s a fresh, unexpected pairing of two traditional patterns that play nicely together, and a great way to give a favorite blue rug center-stage treatment in a room.
Now it’s your turn: Which item in your home has inspired a decorating palette or concept?