Vintage Transferware Pitchers




Are you looking to add a touch of timeless elegance to your home decor? Look no further than vintage transferware pitchers. These stunning pieces have been adorning living spaces for centuries, and for good reason. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they also have a rich history and unique characteristics that make them true works of art. 

transferware pitcher with topiary.

I love a good collection, especially a vintage one, and over the past couple of years, I’ve started a new collection: vintage transferware pitchers. 

Side note: The plant in the pitcher above is a faux thyme topiary. I’m typically not a fan of faux, but this one looks really good!

You might have noticed transferware pitchers popping up on the blog. I used several of them with the flower arrangement centerpiece on my vintage-inspired outdoor tablescape. I’ve also styled them as props in the background of some of my recipe photos as seen in the blueberry lemon drop martini post. 

I’m not quite sure where this obsession…. er collection…. started, but it has grown over the years and I’m still on the hunt for more. I love incorporating antiques into my home decor.

If you enjoy vintage and grandma-chic home decor, I think you’re going to love these beautiful pitchers. Starting a home decor collection is a great way to decorate your home. Also, it makes for fun shopping when visiting antique and/or thrift stores. 

grouping of transferware pitchers.

Why You’ll Love Transferware Pitchers

Whether you are an avid collector or simply looking to add a touch of elegance to your decor, vintage transferware pitchers are a fantastic choice. 

These timeless pieces offer more than just aesthetic appeal; they are also highly functional and can be used in a variety of ways around the home. 

History of Transferware

Understanding the history and characteristics of this pottery can help you appreciate its beauty even more. Transferware was first produced in the late 18th century as a cheaper alternative to hand-painted porcelain. The technique involved transferring a pattern from an engraved copper plate to a sheet of paper, which was then applied to the pottery and fired in the kiln. This process allowed for intricate designs and patterns to be produced at a faster and more affordable rate thus making transferware accessible to more people. 

And while most of my focus in this post is on transferware pitchers, you can also get plates, cups, saucers, etc. They are equally as beautiful. 

transferware pitcher hanging on a peg rail in a kitchen.

Colors, Patterns, and Designs

Vintage transferware pitchers come in a range of colors, patterns, and designs, making them a versatile addition to any home decor. 


Blue and white transferware is the most common, but other colors such as green, red, black, and brown can also be found. As you can see, I have pitchers in red, brown, blue, and teal. My goal is to find a purple one, but they seem pretty hard to come by. (Keep your fingers crossed for me!)

close up of transferware pitcher handle.


Different patterns, such as pastoral scenes, landscapes, botanicals, architectural designs, geometric patterns, and intricate borders add a unique touch to each piece. Additionally, some pitchers feature intricate detailing or hand-painted accents that make them even more special.

How to Use Transferware Pitchers

If you’re looking for ways to add a unique touch to your home decor or table settings, vintage transferware pitchers are an excellent place to start. These classic pieces are not only functional but also incredibly versatile, giving you countless opportunities to get creative.

Centerpieces / Flower Vase

In addition to being gorgeous decorative pieces, vintage transferware pitchers can also double as stunning centerpieces. Placing a few pitchers of varying sizes and colors on a table instantly adds charm and sophistication to any gathering. Fill them with flowers, greenery, or even fruit for a pop of color and added interest. (Learn more about how I style a beautiful flower arrangement in my ultimate flower arranging guide.)

This might be my favorite and most frequent use for them. I think flowers look so beautiful, unique, and elevated when styled in one of these pitchers. 

flower arrangement on fall table setting.


One way to use transferware pitchers is by turning them into planters for your herbs or succulents. This DIY project is simple and effective, adding both charm and greenery to your space. I recommend this type of project for pitchers that may be damaged and have chips or cracks. You wouldn’t want to use a pristine pitcher for this planter project as it could cause damage. 

Utensil Holder

For a more rustic look, consider using transferware pitchers as holders for utensils and napkins.  Have a home office or art studio? Use them to hold your paintbrushes, pens, pencils, etc. I think they would also look so great styled with a bunch of long taper candles. Talk about charming home decor! 

vintage transferware pitcher with paint brushes.


In addition to their decorative uses, transferware pitchers can also serve practical purposes. They make excellent serving vessels for drinks or soups, and can even be used as gravy boats or creamers for special occasions.

transferware picture with candles.

Where to Buy

Since these are vintage, you’ll want to shop at places where you can typically score vintage finds. This includes:

  • antique stores
  • thrifts stores
  • garage and estate sales

If you’re new to antique shopping, I can help with that too. I have a blog post with my seven best tips for antique shopping and scoring the best deals. 

You can also shop online. I typically enjoy the thrill of the hunt in person, but if you want to find something more quickly, check out:

Vintage-Inspired Fall Tablescape
Vintage Transferware Pitcher on table with plate and glassware.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is transferware?

Transferware is a type of pottery that was popular in the 19th century. It is made by transferring a design from an engraved copper plate onto a piece of pottery. The design is then hand-painted and glazed.

How can I tell if a vintage transferware pitcher is authentic?

Look for a backstamp or maker’s mark on the pitcher. This will give you an indication of its origin and whether it is an original piece. You can also examine the design closely – vintage transferware pitchers often have intricate designs and fine details.

How should I care for my vintage transferware pitcher?

Vintage transferware pitchers are delicate pieces that require special care. Hand-wash them with mild soap and water, and avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals. Do not clean them in the dishwasher. Store them in a safe and dry place, and handle them with care to avoid chipping or cracking.

Can I use these pitchers for food and drinks?

While vintage transferware pitchers are safe to use for food and drinks, they are not recommended for hot liquids or acidic foods. Avoid using them in the microwave or dishwasher, as this can damage the glaze and transfer design.

Vintage Transferware Pitchers on a tablescape for fall.

Final Thoughts

Vintage transferware pitchers are more than just decorative items; they have a rich history and unique characteristics that make them a must-have for any home. 

I hope this gives you a little knowledge and background on transferware. I also hope that you’re feeling inspired to pick up a vintage transferware pitcher for your own space. 

Happy Decorating! 

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