Ceramic coatings on oxides can be studied by high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), with minimal sample preparation, if the substrate consists of nonporous particles of simple geometric shape. Interfaces suitable for ‘end-on’ examination by HRTEM can be readily obtained without any necessity for ion-beam thinning. All the interface orientations that are thermodynamically stable are available for examination from a single sample. This technique is of general applicability and can be used for studies of metal-ceramic and ceramic-ceramic interfaces. We have examined the nature of boron nitride interfaces with oxides such as MgO, TiO2 and Al2O3 and find that BN appears to wet the oxide surface and form tough, adherent coatings. The hexagonal crystalline BN grows with the (0001) planes always being locally parallel to the oxide surface in every instance.