We can never hope to attain the perfection and beauty of blue china aptly expressed by Oscar Wilde. He said he found it harder and harder to live up to his blue china in the abovementioned sentiment, and I wholeheartedly agree. Blue and White are unequalled; fresh and bright, charming and delightful, elegant and forever in style. It has a timeless appeal- classic, traditional, yet contemporary.
Across the world, it is hugely popular and goes so well with every decorating style, although blue and white is an essential element of the American Hamptons look. Blue and white palettes are appealing collectively or as a one-off. Elegant and forever in style.
China in blue and white is hard to beat. It remains timeless with a fresh appeal that works every time. It is inspirational, never out of date and rarely looks out of place. An eclectic mix of blues and of different patterns can go together and still look perfect. You can find pieces from marketplaces and garage sale oddments to rare antiques or cheap and cheerful reproductions and contemporary ranges for every budget.
The fascination for Blue and White has been around since it became widely used in the 14th century for Chinese porcelain. This was because the cobalt pigment for the colour blue began to be imported from Persia at that time.
For generations, blue and white tableware, figurines, vases, teapots, mugs and cups and saucers have stood out amongst every other colour combination as the most popular. Take transferware for example that has been made in brown and white, red and white and green and white but blue and white has been made more than any other colour and purchased by millions of people since its inception.
The captivating and special nature of blue and white porcelain has a unique appeal that no other colour combination can match. This separates it from the rest of pottery and remains today as one of the most attractive blue objects to have existed.
This classroom site provides a good short History Of Fine China for those interested in the development of porcelain etc.
Blue as we know it all began as many stories do with the Catholic Church. In 431 AD, the church decided to colour code the Saints, and Mary was given a blue robe. The shade of blue that Mary wore became known as “navy blue.” Mary stood for Trustworthiness and Innocence, and the colour blue was seen as a positive light. The Military and Police also adopted the colour on these grounds to portray a sense of trust.
There are hundreds of words today for the various shades of blue; robin’s egg blue, Prussian blue, denim blue, pale, powder blue, indigo, cerulean, slate, Lapis, sky, cobalt, Airforce blue, sapphire, baby blue and many more. These still convey the colour’s original peaceful, subdued meaning.
The lighter shades of blue are associated with health, healing, softness, serenity, understanding, peace, tranquillity, and calmness.
Darker shades of blue are thought of as authoritative, profound, knowledgeable, powerful, integrity, non-threatening, reliable and stable.
Today, like the ancient Egyptians, people adore the colour blue. It remains widely used in interior design and fashion and continues to be a number one best-seller in Fine China and Porcelain.
The history of colour is a fascinating study and especially the history of Blue. I have added the information below as an account of the history of popular blue colours for ceramics, textiles and paint directly from My Modern Met
Egyptian Blue– 2,200 B.C. The colour was made from ground limestone sand with a copper-mineral, azurite or malachite, which was then heated between 1470 and 1650°F resulting in an. an opaque blue glass that was crushed and combined with egg whites to create a long-lasting paint or glaze.
Cerulean Blue – Is composed of cobalt magnesium stannate, the sky-coloured cerulean blue was perfected by Andreas Höpfner in Germany in 1805 by roasting cobalt and tin oxides.
Cobalt Blue was discovered in the 8th and 9th centuries and was then used to colour ceramics and jewellery. Especially in China, in distinctive blue and white patterned porcelain.
Ultramarine made originally 6,000 years ago from Lapis lazuli the vibrant, semi-precious gemstone
Navy Blue or marine blue, is the darkest shade of blue and was adopted as the official colour for British Royal Navy uniforms, and was worn by officers and sailors from 1748.
Prussian Blue was discovered accidentally by German dye maker Johann Jacob Diesbach. He was working on a new red when one of his materials—potash came into contact with animal blood. Instead of making the pigment even redder, it created a chemical reaction, that resulted in a vibrant blue.
Indigo was a new blue dye that came from an excessively grown crop—called Indigofera tinctoria. Its import shook up the European textile trade in the 16th century,
International Klein Blue was made by French artist Yves Klein when searching for the perfect colour of the sky. He developed a matte version of ultramarine considered the best blue of all. He registered International Klein Blue (IKB) as a trademark and the deep hue became his signature between 1947 and 1957.
YinMin Blue is a new shade of blue accidentally discovered by Professor Mas Subramanian and his student Andrew E. Smith at Oregon State University. They were exploring new materials for making electronics and discovered that one of his samples turned bright blue when heated. They named it YInMn blue, after its chemical makeup of yttrium, indium, and manganese, and released the colour commercially in 2016.
Modern or contemporary blue and white china is readily available, popular and a few designs are pictured below in order –
Mediterranean | Blue and White Dinner Plate, Wedgwood Renaissance, Artedona “Oiseau Bleu” dinner plates, Ecology Oasis Stoneware, Royal Doulton Pacific Splash, Mantra by Greg Irvine 21cm Porcelain Side Plate. Wedgwood Hibiscus, Bernardaud
Domus Prince Blue Coupe Plate, Blue Copenhagen Blue Flowers, Spode Blue Italian, Iittala Taika Plate, Churchill Finlandia, Villeroy and Boch Old Luxembourg.
These gorgeous plates are all-new contemporary designs available now that will effortlessly evoke a comfortable tablescape. Consider mixing Blue and White china with modern natural elements like basketry, cane lanterns, raffia or cork placemats, batik napkins or bamboo cutlery and of course simple plain white dinnerware. Perhaps add a pop of bright, bold colour like green or red with blue and white china. Or for a subtle more pastel colour combo; pearls and fresh flowers to create a different, serene subdued look.
Blue and white can also be ramped up to be a more sophisticated look by remixing with fine glassware, polished silver and touches of Antiques. What I love is to mix the old cherished heirloom pieces or vintage finds with white plain china and porcelain and everyday blue and white. It easily blends together to create an elegant, eclectic style but is still fresh and inviting.
The trends for Blue and White have reappeared in recent times in fashion and footwear, I phone covers and decor.
Content Di Baker 2021
Images as cited
Title quote by Oscar Wilde
Title Image courtesy of paintedpots.com