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Blue Willow
The most common of all transfer patterns, blue willow was first produced at the Caughley Pottery in 1780 and is still made today. The pattern was derived from the Chinese by Thomas Turner. His busy, crowded composition is a westernization of the sparer, more economical Chinese design (oriental wares made for export were always more heavily decorated than those made for domestic use), and it caught European taste so well that it was widely produce by factories in England, Germany, Holland, Japan, and, later on, America. The pattern depicts three figures, a bridge, a pagoda, birds, and trees in a Chinese landscape. According to legend, it tells the story of a pair of lovers fleeing from an angry father: the gods changed them into birds to enable them to escape him. A nice, romantic nineteenth century story that is purely European in concept: China is a land of arranged marriages, not of romantic love.