In 1896, Thomas Clark Wild bought a pottery in Longton, Stoke on Trent, England, called Albert Works, which had been named the year before in honor of the birth of Prince Albert, who became King George VI in 1936. Using the brand name Albert Crown China, Thomas Wild and Co. produced commemorative bone-china pieces for Queen Victoria's 1897 Diamond Jubilee, and by 1904 had earned a Royal Warrant.

From the beginning, Royal Albert's bone china dinnerware was popular, especially its original floral patterns made in rich shades of red, green, and blue. Known for incredibly fine, white, and pure bone china, Royal Albert was given to the sentimental and florid excesses of Victorian Era England, making pattern after pattern inspired by English gardens and woodlands. With designs like Serena, Old English Roses, and Masquerade and motifs inspired by Japanese Imari, the company appealed to a wide range of tastes, from the simplest to the most aristocratic.

Before 1904, pieces of Wild's bone china were printed or impressed on the back with a simple crown mark with the letters "T.C.W." underneath. Between 1905 and 1907, pieces were stamped with the words “Royal Albert Crown China” between concentric circles around a crown and sometimes the letters "T.C.W." or the pattern’s name. Between 1907 and 1922, the new backstamp had a similar circular logo, but with the crown on top and interlocking "TCW" letters on the inside.

In 1910, the company created its first overseas agency in New Zealand. Soon it had offices in Australia, Canada, and the United States. Willing to experiment with the latest in industrial technologies, the company was an early adopter of kilns fueled by gas and electricity.

When Wild's sons joined the company in 1917, they quite naturally changed the firm’s name to "Thomas Wild & Sons" and started using a mark that doesn't have circles around the logo. Starting in 1927, Royal Albert used a wide variety of more stylized backstamps, some with the crown, some without, and others stylized with script and Art Deco lettering. Some of these marks even had roses or other parts of the pattern in them.

Patterns from the years between the wars include American Beauty, Maytime, Indian Tree, Dolly Varden, and Lady-Gay. The '40s saw patterns like Fragrance, Teddy's Playtime, Violets for Love, Princess Anne, Sunflower, White Dogwood, Mikado, Minuet, Cotswold, and the popular Lady Carlyle.

Despite its relative modernity, Royal Albert's most treasured pattern is probably Old Country Roses, which was introduced in 1962. Designed by Harold Holdcraft, this tremendously...

Collectors looking for OCR dishes, as they are known, need to watch out for "second quality" pieces (glazing mistakes and imperfections in size or color are the most common reason a piece is marked as a second). Seconds were often given to employees or sold at 50 percent of retail, and they can be identified by a scratch or mark across the backstamp.

Another very popular pattern with collectors is Kentish Rockery, produced from the '30s into the '50s. This dinnerware features a detailed pastel landscape view of an English garden.

Royal Albert incorporated as a limited company in 1933, and in the 1960s it was acquired by Pearson Group, joining that company's Allied English Potteries. By 1970, the porcelain maker was completely disassociated with its T.C. Wild & Sons origins and renamed Royal Albert Ltd.

Pearson Group also acquired Royal Doulton in 1972, putting Royal Crown Derby, Royal Albert, Paragon, and the Lawleys chain under the Royal Doulton umbrella, which at this point included Minton, John Beswick, and Webb Corbett. In the '70s, several popular Royal Albert patterns were discontinued including Old English Roses, Serena, and American Beauty.

Collectors were appalled when Royal Doulton placed the Royal Albert name on its Beswick Beatrix Potter figurines, made under license from Frederick Warne, in 1991. The branding was quickly switched back. In 1993, Royal Doulton Group was ejected from Pearson Group, for making less money than its other properties.

In 2002, Royal Doulton moved the production of Royal Albert from England to Indonesia, thus making all plates marked "Made in England" much more valuable to collectors. A few years later, Waterford Wedgwood absorbed Royal Doulton Group and all its holdings, which currently makes three brands, Royal Doulton, Minton, and Royal Albert, including the Old Country Roses pattern.

All this corporate upheaval, however, did not diminish the value of Royal Albert to the throne. In 2002, the company launched small lines to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II and the death of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

In addition, fashion designer Zandra Rhodes was hired in 2005 to create a new pattern for the Royal Albert line called My Favourite Things. This luxury dinnerware set, trimmed in mica, features a butterfly and wiggle motif inspired by one of Rhodes's fabrics.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Thepotteries.org

Thepotteries.org

Steve Birks' super deep site is a tribute to a bygone era, chronicling how a pottery center of excellence (they did… [read review or visit site]

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

This gallery showcases highlights from the 5,000 items in the museum's ceramics collection dating from 1500-1900. I… [read review or visit site]

Ceramics at The V&A

Ceramics at The V&A

A great reference on ceramics from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Learn about different ceramics techniques and st… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

3 Old Country Roses 'avon' Tea Cups & Saucers, Good Condition, Royal Albert6 Lavender Rose Tea Cups & Saucers, Good Condition, Royal AlbertLavender Rose Medium Tea Pot, Good Condition, Looks Unused, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses 23cm (9") Comport, Good Condition, 1962-73, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses 3-tier Cake Stand, Good Condition, 1962-73, Royal AlbertGorgeous Vintage Royal Albert Heirloom Teapot And Serving Tray6 Old Country Roses Tea Cups & Saucers, Good Condition, 1962-73, Royal Albert6 Old Country Roses Coffee Cups & Saucers, 1st Quality, 1962-73, Royal AlbertVintage Royal Albert Blossom Time Teapot And 4 Cups & SaucersRoyal Albert Old Country Roses England Round Covered Butter Dish6 Lavender Rose 26.5cm Dinner Plates, Good Condition, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Six Gold Plated Tea Coffee Spoons Vgc In Box6 Old Country Roses Soup Coupes & Saucers, 1st Quality, 1962-73, Royal Albert6 Lavender Rose Coffee Cups & Saucers, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Bone China England Old Country Roses Covered Vegetable DishLavender Rose 2-tier Cake Stand, Base 20.5cm,1st Quality, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert - Heirloom Teapot Royal Albert Old Country Roses Large Tea PotRoyal Albert Chintz Tea Van Teapot From Old Country RosesRoyal Albert1962 Old Country Roses Bone China 20 Piece 5place Setting/never UsedLavender Rose Large 1400ml (2.5 Pint) Coffee Pot, 1st Quality, Vgc, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Princess Series Purple Teacup And SaucerRoyal Albert Lady Carlyle Teapot Six Cup Large. Royal Albert Old Country Roses 21 Piece Tea SetRoyal Albert Old English Rose - Cake Plate - Handles - Gold TrimRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Teapot Cardew DesignOld Country Roses 'avon' Tea Cup & Saucer, 1st Qlty, Good Condition Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Bone China Tea / Coffee Pot Stand, 1962-73, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses 2-tier Cake Stand, Good Condition, 1993-2002, Royal AlbertAntique English Imari Pattern Plates 1800 Derby Royal Albert 19th Century Royal Albert Old Country Roses Seasons Of Color Dinner Plates Red Border Set 1148 Pcs Royal Albert Old Country Roses Bone China Service For 8 Plates BowlsWide Royal Albert England Heavy Gold Pink Roses Bone China Tea Cup & Saucer Duo2 Royal Albert Old Country Roses Coffee/tea Mugs Boxed - Exc. ConditionSet Of 4, Cup And Saucer Sets Gorgeous Vintage Royal Albert Heirloom Old Country Roses Lidded Tureen, 1st Qlty, Good Condition, 1962-73, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Gravy BoatRoyal Albert Tea Cup & Saucer - Lady Carlyle - England - Fine Bone ChinaLavender Rose Large 1400ml (2.5 Pint) Coffee Pot, Good Condition, Royal AlbertFlower Of The Month July Tea Cup & Saucer, 1st Qlty, Good Condition Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Covered Butter Dish ExcellentOld Country Roses Large Tea Pot, 1st Qlty, Good Condition,1962-73, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Coffee Pot Large & 2 Cups & SaucersRoyal Albert Red Rose Ornate Gold Designs Pink Tea Cup And SaucerRoyal Albert Lavender Rose Cups+saucers+tea Plates+ Milk Jug +sugar Bowl@19616 Lavender Rose 16cm Side Plates, Good Condition, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Gold Crest Series Floral Bouquet Cup And Saucer Royal Albert - Old Country Roses - Butter Dish Royal Albert Old English Rose Large Tea PotRoyal Albert England Bone China Pink English Rose Tea Cup & Saucer Set ~ MintOld Country Roses Bone China Tea / Coffee Pot Stand, 1973-93, Royal AlbertRare Royal Albert Old Country Roses 1 Pint Jug 1962-73 1st Quality Vgc 6 Old Country Roses 16cm Side Plates, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1973-93, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses 4 Berry Bowls In Good Condition Royal Albert Tea Cup And Saucer Flowers Of The Month June Rose Pink & GreenRoyal Albert Old Country Roses 4 Salad Plates 8" AcrossRoyal Albert Fine Bone China Tea Cup & Saucer Set Regal Series 4396 Cobalt BlueLavender Rose Large Oval Serving Platter, 42cm 16" Good Condition, Royal AlbertVintage Royal Albert Old Country Roses 1962 Sugar Bowl With Lid6 Old Country Roses Tea Cups & Saucers, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1973-93, Royal Albert