Q: My mother-in-law gave me four small matching flow blue dishes. I have enclosed a photo of one of the dishes. She had a complete set of flow blue dinnerware and gave most of the pieces to her daughters and daughters-in-law several years ago. The set has been in my husband's family for several generations. My mother-in-law's mother brought the dishes with her when she emigrated to the United States. Marked in cobalt blue on the bottom of each dish is the word “Scinde” in a cartouche. Also the words “J. and G. Alcock” and “Oriental Stone” are impressed on the bottom of each dish. The pattern is an Asian scene of water, trees, a figure, a building and flowers. The rim is decorated with stylized flowers and leaves. Each dish is 5 inches in diameter and in excellent condition.
This set is a treasured family heirloom and will be passed down to the next generation. Anything you can tell me about its history will be greatly appreciated.
A: You have a set of semi-porcelain individual berry dishes that were probably part of a set that included a master berry bowl. John and George Alcock established their pottery in Cobridge, Staffordshire, England, around 1820. Flow blue was inspired by Chinese blue and white porcelain that was exported to England in the early 1600s. Most of the Staffordshire potteries decorated their ware with transfer prints. The cobalt blue would flow or bleed during firing having a two-fold effect. The blurry blue designs were attractive to the buyer, and they camouflaged the flaws in the design. “Scinde” is the name of the pattern and is a province in India.
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