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The Story of Blue Willow

The Story of Blue Willow

Posted by Aimee Talbot on 31st Jan 2012

If you have been antiquing for very long, it is a great possibility you have seen the Willow pattern in your shopping travels. Thomas Minton designed the pattern around 1790 and for more than 200 years, various manufacturers have used this beautiful, storied transferware pattern.

Born in 1765, Thomas Minton was an English potter. He founded Thomas Minton and Sons in Staffordshire, England which grew into a major international ceramic manufacturing company. Willow, commonly called Blue Willow, is an elaborate, picturesque pattern used on pottery, ceramic, and porcelain kitchenware, and is actually based on a story:

Long ago, a Chinese mandarin emperor, Tso Ling, lived under the branches of an apple tree on the right of a bridge in a majestic pagoda. Over this pagoda and bridge drooped the immortalized willow tree, in front of which is seen the graceful form of a fence. Tso Ling had a beautiful daughter, Kwang-se, who was the promised bride of an old, wealthy businessman.

The girl, however, fell in love with Chang, her father’s clerk, and the two eloped. The mandarin chased them in order to have them killed when suddenly, the gods transformed them into a pair of turtledoves that were able to fly away. These turtledoves are seen gazing into each other’s eyes at the top of each piece of Blue Willow pattern pottery.

Below are more samples for beautiful Blue Willow pieces:

 Aimee owns with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!