The eponymous Willow pattern tea service

Popular in households all over Britain, Willow pattern china seems to have been with us forever. Its distinctive and elaborate chinoiserie pattern was developed by ceramic artists based in Stoke on Trent towards the end of the 18th century. The design was a combination and adaptation of existing hand painted blue and white china imported from China.  Willow pattern china was not hand painted, but used a technique called transfer printing. This method of decorating ceramics sped up production and allowed good quality china to be available for the masses.