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About the Transferware Collectors Club

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TCC Scope

The Transferware Collectors Club is a forum for sharing information and interests between archaeologists, collectors, curators, dealers, historians, scholars, and those who simply appreciate the beauty and technical proficiency of British transferware. The Club focuses on underglaze transfer printing on British pottery produced in the late-18th and 19th centuries. However, we are happy to extend our horizons for closely related wares. Wares made after 1900 are included if they relate directly to wares made before 1900. These might be designs which continued in production for some years or, more specifically, a series of designs which continued into the 20th century. As a general rule, new designs introduced after 1900 are only included in exceptional circumstances.

The club concentrates on underglaze transfer printing. However, we also include overglaze printing (particularly the wide range of 18th century wares made before underglaze-printing became dominant). Bat-printing is also included. We appreciate all colors used in the transfer printing process. As a general rule we do NOT focus on wares where the transfer-printing is simply part of the decoration process and not its main component.

As to bodies, we concentrate on what might best be described as pottery, which includes earthenware in all its various forms (creamware, pearlware, and all the various trade names such as “opaque china” or “semi-china”), and also the various types of stone china (ironstone, granite ware, and again a whole host of trade names). We include transfer-printed porcelain, but it is not of interest to most of our members.

To summarize, we concentrate on underglaze transfer printing on British pottery produced in the late-18th and 19th centuries, but we are happy to extend our horizons for closely related wares.

Our History

As one reads the information filled pages of the Old China Magazine, which was published between the years 1901 and 1904, you find the editor visualizing the establishment of an organization devoted to the scholarly pursuit of knowledge, concerning the products of the British potteries during the one-hundred year period from 1725 through 1825. Sam Laidacker, who followed in the foot-steps of the Old China Magazine, with his own American Antiques Collector, some thirty-five years later, voiced the same vision.

However, it was only in 1970 that the dream was partially realized with the establishment of the American Ceramic Circle at the home of J. Jefferson Miller II (author of Yellow Glazed Earthenware) in the spring of 1970. He and a very few others formed a nucleus of an organization devoted to the study of all ceramic products, from Meissen to North Carolina earthenware to Asian porcelains. Still active today, this organization has a membership which includes famous names from across the spectrum, from finance to the arts.

However, it did not fully fill the dreams voiced in 1904 and 1939, concerning the products of the British potteries. Then, in 1973, a group of British collectors and scholars formed that fine organization, "The Friends of Blue", which was devoted to furthering the knowledge of the British potteries production of blue-printed transferware of the 18th and 19th centuries.

In early 1998, three friends, who were collector-dealers of Staffordshire transferware, decided to establish an American version of "The Friends of Blue", devoted not only to the blue-printed transferware, but to any color transfer on British ceramics made during the period from 1760 to 1880. David Arman, of Rhode Island, Judie Siddall of California and Norman Wolfe of Washington (State) incorporated "The Transferware Collectors Club" in Massachusetts in late 1998. Aided by a one-time finanacial grant from the Paul and Gladys Richards Charitable Foundation (both Richards' were avid collectors of transferware), membership enrollment was begun by Secretary-Treasurer Norm Wolfe in early 1999.  Norm, Judie, Linda Hewitt, and Robert Hewitt prepared a brochure which was sent to prospective members.  By the end of August, 1999, there were over two-hundred members enrolled in the infant organization. The incorporators also applied for and obtained "tax-exempt" status from the Internal Revenue Service.

In the meantime, David Arman set up a website for the Club and proceeded to establish the quarterly Bulletin, with the first issue mailed to the membership on September 1st, 1999.

The first annual meeting of the Club was held on August 4th through the 6th at the New England Conference Center in Durham, NH.  Approximately 65 members attended.  Permanent Club officers and a Board of Trustees were elected.  The meeting featured  lectures by noted authorities in the field, member selling and swapping, and a transferware auction.  The commissions from the auction were returned to the Club.

It is hoped that the T.C.C. will serve as a medium for the exchange of knowledge and the enhancement of the hobby. Possibly this could include such long-term goals as the establishment of a research grant in the field. Also, it is possible that the Club might establish a permanent exhibition and research facility devoted to transferware. The membership will determine the directions that this new organization will travel in the future, and the future appears to be quite exciting for those that share this addiction to those pieces of common pottery made so many years ago.

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