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Gaudy Willow  

This term is often used to describe coloured versions of the traditional blue and white Willow pattern, for which hand-painted enamels are applied over the transfer pattern before firing.

Gaudy Willow items are popular with collectors in the USA, where the term is widely encountered. In Britain this type of pattern is usually called Coloured Willow.

To view more details of each pattern, click on the pattern names.

Arthur J Wilkinson Ltd
Royal Staffordshire Pottery
Coloured Willow (left)
c. 1911

John Maddock & Sons Ltd
Royal Willow
c. 1901-10

Brown transfer


Ridgways Ltd
Coloured Willow
c. 1924-29

Brown transfer


Booths Ltd
Coloured Willow
c. 1923

Black transfer

A rarely seen variant on Booths
Real Old Willow design.

Booths Ltd
Ye Old Chinese Willow
c. 1923

Manufactured for AG HarleyJones,

Wood & Sons
c. 1927

This pattern is unusual in that it has two separate transfers of different colours:

Brown transfer (centre),
Green transfer (border)


Wood & Sons
c. 1931

Brown transfer

Also found with a red or blue transfer - the jug shown right has both!

Many C19th and early C20th firms also produced their own colourful variations on the Willow pattern, often inspired by other similar Chinese designs. The patterns shown below all feature the two lovebirds that are such an important part of the willow pattern story, symbolising the souls of the two lovers re-united after death.

Wedgwood & Co
c. 1860-1900

Black transfer

This design seems to have been very popular in the C19th, and different versions can be found by several manufacturers, some of which are shown below...

J & R Godwin
Coloured Willow
c. 1834-66

Black transfer

This version has only one bird!

Older items in this design are often unmarked, making their exact age hard to determine.

Differences in the design, border and colours can often be used to compare them with items with a known provenance.

Coloured Willow
c. 1891+

Black transfer.

Two patterns exist, with either brown or green handpainting on the rim.


Crown Staffs
Chinese Willow
c. 1930-50

Blue transfer

Several versions exist, including one without a border (see right).

Keeling & Co (Losol)
c. 1933

Green transfer

Also produced in other colours, including plain Blue & White.

Wood & Sons
c. 1926-33

Manufactured for DBC?

Blue transfer

Designed by Frederick Rhead, this charming pattern is loosely connected to the Willow design by the inclusion of the two birds.

The patterns below are inspired by Chinese Canton porcelain, and although similar to the Willow pattern, do not contain the lovebirds found in the above designs.

Copeland Spode
c. 1820-1924

Blue transfer (left - 1820)
Brown transfer (right - 1902)

Also found in other colours, and as a plain Blue & White pattern.

Wood & Sons
c. 1921-23

Blue transfer

More commonly found as a plain Blue & White pattern

Another Frederick Rhead design, this adheres quite closely to the traditional Canton pattern, found on Chinese export porcelain.

Real Old Canton
c. 1911-20

Brown transfer

More commonly found as a plain Blue & White pattern

The Ashworth Canton design is treated in a more stylised way, giving this pattern a very modern look.

Some Woods Canton items also feature a similar stylised version of the pattern.

Wood & Sons
c. 1920

Blue transfer

More commonly found as a plain Blue & White pattern

Frederick Rhead seems to have let his imagination take control here in a pattern that extends the elements of the Canton design, featuring more bridges, ships, temples and small groups of figures than any other pattern we know.

Larger items contain even more elements than the jug shown opposite.

Peking Japan
c. 1862-90

Purple transfer

This pattern was repeated over a long period, with many colour variations

A similar, if more controlled, approach from Masons with very fine detailing in the boats and figures.

Booths Ltd
c. 1917-26

Blue transfer, also found as a plain blue & white pattern.

Booths Ming pattern covers a wide range of designs. The 'Landscape' version found on plates is the closest to the willow pattern.

T G Green & Co Ltd
Ming (coloured)
c. 1930

Black transfer

Also found as a plain Blue & White pattern.

The design of this pattern is very similar to Booths Ming pattern shown above, with different colouring.

To the purist many of the above patterns should not be called willow patterns. The term Gaudy Willow, however, seems to embrace a wider variety of designs. To qualify, we suggest that a significant number of the following features should be present:

-Temple or group of buildings on an island at the right of the design
-Bridge over water in centre of pattern
-Boat(s) with sail
-Trees, often weeping willow or similar
-Small figure(s) on bridge, in temple, or on boat(s)
-Island top left, sometimes with a pagoda
-Bird(s) in sky

If you know of any Gaudy Willow patterns not listed above, please send details.
Comments also welcome!

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