Transfer printing is a mass-production method of applying an image to a curved or uneven surface. It is most commonly used for printing on porcelain and other hard surfaced pottery.

Transfer printing evolved in England in the 1750s. The image is first engraving on a copper plate. Pigment is then added - often mixed with oil and heated to allow the colour to run deeper in to the engravings. The image is then transferred to a piece of paper or fabric, sometimes with a layer of glue applied, that can easily be cut and shaped to fit around curved objects such as dishes and teapots. This is known as the 'bat' and gives the process its alternative name: 'bat printing'. This is then placed on the ceramic object in its unglazed state after its initial firing to transfer the image to the object; the object is then glazed and fired again to make the image permanent.

Prior to the invention of transfer printing, images could only be placed on ceramic objects by hand-painting in enamels; its invention was therefore a major step in the production of decorative ceramic wares for the mass market. It is believed that it was developed by John Sadler and Guy Green. However the improvements made by Wedgwood are generally credited for the widespread popularity the method enjoyed during the next hundred years.

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