Our historical society has a permanent display of view china with old black and white transfer images of our small town including churches, natural scenes, and our common and I admire and peruse the collection whenever I can. A few years ago, I came across view china in an antique store and noticed that the plate had a great image of a Connecticut scene and we were in Vermont. I thought this isn’t right for it to be so far from its origin. That moment began my crusade to get these beautiful and historic items back where they belong.
Most people don’t realize that view china is quite old because they might link it to kitschy 1950s souvenir dishes. The earlier transfer view china is much older, mostly made in Germany from 1890 to before WWI. Another bonus I enjoy about view china is the story of the merchant that purchased and sold the piece. Some have their name and the name of their shop imprinted on the base of these dishes and so it gives even more depth to the snapshot of a town in an earlier time. As people got more leisure time they were able to take trains (perhaps even a day trip) to various locations and bring back a piece of view china as a memento of the day. This benefitted both the shopkeeper and the tourist. Most view china was not used, although I have seen some used in very interesting ways!
There are two ideas about collecting view china. One is collecting on a theme such as steamships, bridges, beaches, lighthouses, Civil War battle sites, or towns. The other type of collection focuses on the shape of this porcelain such as tea cups and saucers, pin trays, shoes, smoking dishes or pitchers.
I think that as collections of view china are being downsized or split up from estates it is a fresh opportunity for you to begin a collection or try to get them back to historical societies in the areas they picture. If you are interested in more on view china I suggest you get one of the books available, mostly on the used book market.