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ABOUT   CALICO Calico Backstamp - reads "Calico / Burleigh / Staffordshire / England"
Burgess Dorling & Leigh, maker of Burleighware ®, is the only pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England which makes all of its blue and white ware using the ancient print-transfer process.

How Calico is Made
Roller 1 Burleigh's Calico is an English Staffordshire under-glaze "transfer print" decoration that begins with the skilled hands of an engraver and a copper plate. Once the pattern is meticulously engraved onto the plate, navy blue ink is spread over the top of the copper engraving.
A very fine tissue paper, such as used in old-style dress patterns, is then placed over the inked plates and rollers are used to transfer the pattern onto the paper; thus the term "transfer print". Roller 2 Transfer Print 1

On the Clothesline The tissue is then hung, literally on clothes line, and left to dry only long enough for the ink to become a tacky consistency, and then passed on to the decorators. The paper is then cut to various sizes and pressed into place by hand onto the pottery; on some pieces the print is tapped into place with a small rubber mallet. The paper is then rubbed with a small stiff brush lubricated with soap, transferring the ink to the pottery.

Transfer Print 2 Transfer Print 3 Transfer Print 4

Applying the backstamp Blue Calico backstamp Even the backstamp is applied by hand, using the same print-transfer method.

On the Blue Calico pieces, the backstamp reads Calico - Burleigh - Staffordshire England.
From the kiln
Next, the paper is washed off the piece with warm water, leaving only the inked pattern on the pottery. The pottery is then sent through the firing process. During the first firing any remaining tissue burns off, leaving the ink, or color, on the piece of pottery, and at that point the Calico pattern is seen only as a matte, brown color. The piece is then glazed and fired again and it is during the second firing that the color turns blue.

This method was invented in England around 1760 and Calico is made today exactly as it was in the 1800s!
Burgess, Dorling and Leigh is the only pottery in Stoke-on-Trent which makes all of its blue and white ware using this ancient process and in this new century the Calico pattern still remains a favorite for many, and is much sought after.

Still decorated by hand, which is both costly and time consuming, there will never be an over-abundance of Calico at any one time. Whether you own a complete table setting, or only one special piece, you can take pride in knowing you own something not only lovely, but unique.
Middleport Pottery
Tour Middleport Pottery, the home of Burgess Dorling & Leigh Ltd., makers of Blue Calico and other fine Burleigh Ware. (Courtesy of Steve Birks)
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