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    

Vintage Royal Albert Old Country Roses 21 Piece Tea SetRoyal Albert China Cambridge Tea Set Teapot Milk Jug Sugar Bowl Cup Saucer X TwoSix Vintage Royal Albert Old Country Roses Table Napkins Serviettes 17" SquareRoyal Albert Old Country Roses - 12 China Napkin Rings - Excellent ConditionRoyal Albert Old Country Roses - Set Of 12 Fruit Bowls - Excellent ConditionRoyal Albert Old Country Roses 1.5 Pint Teapot Vgc Royal Albert Old Country Roses 3 Tier Cake Stand 1st Quality Vgc Royal Albert Old Country Roses Lidded Vegetable Tureen 1st Quality 1962-736 Royal Albert Old Country Roses 27cm Dinner Plates 1962-73 VgcRoyal Albert Old Country Roses 2 Pint Lidded Casserole Dish VgcRoyal Albert Footed Tea Cup & Saucer Pink Gold Scroll White & Pink Roses Royal Albert Old Country Roses - 12 Cereal/soup China Bowls - Excellent Cond.Royal Albert Old Country Roses Set Of 4 Serving Bowls- Excellent ConditionRoyal Albert Old Country Roses - Set Of 13 Dessert Plates - Excellent Condition6 Royal Albert Old Country Roses 13.5cm 5.25" Fruit Saucers Royal Albert Old Country Roses Chintz Tea Cup And SaucerRoyal Albert Old Country Roses - Set Of 12 Dinner Plates - Excellent ConditionRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Atomiser 1st QualityRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Teacup Vase Of Flowers Limited To 3000 Pieces!Royal Albert Old Country Roses China Tiered Cake Stand - Excellent ConditionRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Gravy Boat With Saucer - Excellent ConditionRoyal Albert China Tea Pot Stand - Mid 20th C [5519]Royal Albert Old Country Roses China Cream And Sugar - Excellent ConditionFive Vintage Royal Albert Old Country Roses Rimmed Large Soup Or Pasta BowlsMoonlight Rose Large Tea Pot, 1st Quality, Vgc, Made In England, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Senorita - Lot Of 2 - Bone China - Snack Set / Sandwich Tray -plateRoyal Albert Old Country Roses - Set Of 12 Salad Plates - Excellent ConditionRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Mini Teapot 1996 Beautiful Nice Low Starting $Vtg 1944 Royal Albert Lady Carlyle Porcelain Rose Chintz Teapot MintMoonlight Rose Milk Jug & Sugar Bowl, 1st Quality, Vgc, England, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses - Sugar & Creamer - Perfect! 1962Royal Albert Bone China Lady Carlyle Teapot W/sugar & Creamer New6 Moonlight Rose Tea Cups & Saucers, 1st Quality, Vgc, England, Royal AlbertSet Of 6 Royal Albert Old Country Roses Ruby Celebration Ribbon Plates 6.25" Royal Albert "old Country Roses " Miniature Teapot And Tea Cup, 1973-1993Royal Albert Footed Tea Cup & Saucer Yellow Gold Scroll White & Pink Roses Lot 5 Royal Albert Bone China Tea Cup & Saucer Sets Rosa Marie Louise GladiolusRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Chintz Collection Gold Trimmed Sandwich TrayRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Breakfast Cup & Saucer Set Flowers Cups China Vintage Royal Albert Old Country Roses Oval Vegetable Bowl 1962Royal Albert Old Country Roses Chintz Collection Square Salad Plate EnglandRoyal Albert Bone China Saucer & Tea Cup - Good ConditionRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Salt And Pepper Cruet Set 1st Quality VgcRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Bone China Salt & Pepper Set, Floral, Roses6 Royal Albert Old Country Roses Cloverleaf Laminate Table Mats BoxedRoyal Albert Bone China Tranquil Garden Teacup & Saucer England 1992Vintage Royal Albert Old Country Roses Set Of 4 Soup/ Cereal Bowls 1962Royal Albert Old Country Roses Chintz Collection Gold Trimmed Round Salad PlateSigned Royal Albert Old Country Roses Mini English Bone China Miniature Tea PotRoyal Albert-bone China Tea Cup And Saucer-white With Turquoise Royal Albert Old Roses Demitasse Cup And SaucerRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Mantel Clock 1st QualityRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Gold Plated Forks & Cake Server In Original BoxRoyal Albert Lady Carlyle 5 Piece Place Setting New Vintage Royal Albert Old Country Roses Oval Serving Dish Plate NewRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Lidded Powder Bowl 1st Quality VgcRoyal Albert Bone China True Love Footed Teacup & Saucer Lilac Made In EnglandMoonlight Rose Cake / Sandwich Plate, 1st Quality, Vgc, England, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Teapot And Saucer 2002 Rare6 Royal Albert Old Country Roses Cloverleaf Laminate Coasters Vgc