Yellow Transfer Printed Brownware (YTPBW)
Yellow Transfer Printed Brownware is the less than snappy name that describes a ware that used to be referred to as ‘Portobello ware’. An error that seems to have originated with W. Chaffer in 1866 when he erroneously ascribed such wares to the Scott Brothers pottery in Portobello, Scotland, which in fact did not exist. This myth was perpetuated for over 100 years by almost every ceramic expert of the period, even after solid evidence to the contrary was published.
There are two distinct types of YTPBW and one of these is not actually transfer printed! The earliest type are the brownwares with yellow under-glaze or on-glaze transfer prints which were made c.1805-1830 (ish). These were made mostly in Staffordshire but also elsewhere including Yorkshire and, apparently, Swansea. They are transfer printed with yellow coloured oxides.
The other type was made from around 1844 to no later than 1864 by the Scotts Southwick Pottery in Sunderland. This ware was decorated with patterns including basket-weave and paisley etc., made up of small dots and teardrop shapes. Apparently the process was a secret but examination of broken sections shows that the designs were inlaid with white clay rather than printed, and therefore ‘encaustic’. The clear lead glaze then became stained slightly yellow by the iron in the brown-red clay body, so the effect looks like a yellow print. This later ware is often impressed ‘SCOTTS BROTHERS’ (which contributed to the confusion with Portobello – it’s a long story…).
Both types of pottery are fairly scarce due to the limited periods of production, the earlier transfer printed wares especially so.