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    

Royal Albert Old Country Roses 6 Fruit/cake Knives,gold-plate&fine Porcelain(tr86 Royal Albert Old Country Roses Teacups & Saucers Royal Albert 1930s - Wild Rose Floral - Butterfly Handle Tea Cup & Saucer Nr Royal Albert Old Country Roses Round Covered Butter Dish 1st Quality VgcOld Country Roses Rare, Scroll Edged Dish, 1st Qlty, Gc, 1962-73, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Lidded Veg. Tureen, 1st Quality, Gc, 1962-73. Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Cardew Style, Novelty Teapot, 1st Quality, Gc, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses "morning Tea" Collector's Teapot 1st Quality VgcWonderful Vintage Lady Carlyle Cake Plate Royal Albert Old Country Roses Large Coffee Pot, Good Condition, 1962-73 England Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Lady Carlyle Small Mantle Clock...(rare)Royal Albert English Bone China Summer Bounty Season Sapphire Teacup & SaucerVintage Royal Albert Tea Pot & Tea Set, Old Country RosesRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Teacup And Saucer (set Of 9)Pair Of Royal Albert Old Country Roses Egg Cups VgcOld Country Roses Gravy /sauce Boat & Stand, 1st Qlty, Gc, 1962-73, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Sandwich Platter & Serving Tray, Gc, 1962-73, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Preserve / Honey Pot, Vgc, 1973-93, England, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses, Rare Giant Breakfast Cup & Saucer, 1st , Exc, #2Royal Albert Old Country Roses Gold Plated Charger Plates-set Of 4-original BoxRoyal Albert Bone China Cup/saucer England Lavender/polka DotVintage Royal Albert Lady Carlyle Pink Rose Bone China Tea Cup & Saucer MintRoyal Albert Lady Hamilton TeapotOld Country Roses 34.5cm Oval Serving / Meat Platter, Gc, 1973-93, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Large Teapot, 8-9 Cups, 1st Quality, Vgc. 1962-73 Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Mantel Clock VgcOld Country Roses Unusual, Watering Can Ornament, 1st Quality, Vgc, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Large Fruit / Salad Bowl 1st Quality Vgc6 Old Country Roses Table Mats, Good Condition, Made In England, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses 2-tier Cake Stand, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1973-93, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses, Rare Giant Breakfast Cup & Saucer, 1st , Exc, #1Royal Albert Old Country Roses Variety Lot Of 7 Pieces EucRoyal Albert American Beauty Cup Saucer SetRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Lidded Vegetable Tureen 1962-73 1st Quality VgcRoyal Albert Delivery Truck Teapot Old Country Roses 1996 Cardew Excellent CondRoyal Albert Bone China Jam Pot With Matching SpoonRoyal Albert Bone China Cup/saucer England White/gold/rosesRoyal Albert "lady Carlyle" Teacup & Saucer English Bone China Perfect Cond NrRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Oblong Sandwich Tray 1962-73 1st Quality VgcRoyal Albert Crown China#8153 Duo" Florette Pattern"w/ Yellow Butterfly HandleOld Country Roses Candle/votive Holder By Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Enchantment Cup & SaucerStunning Royal Albert Bouquet Series Azalea Cup And Saucer Set Royal Albert "garden Party Series" Spring Song Cup And SaucerRoyal Albert Earthenware Cream & Gold Old Country Roses Victorian Mini TeapotRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Box Of Stationary- 12 Cards/12 EnvelopesRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Telephone Princess VictorianRoyal Albert (england) Moss Rose Bread & Butter Plates (set 3 Assorted Pastels)3 Royal Albert Provincial Flowers Teacups & SaucersRoyal Albert China Old Country Roses 8 Inch Rimmed Soup 4 Bowls New Royal Albert Old Country Roses Gold Plated & Fine Porcelain Cake Server, BoxedRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Scrolled Edge Dish ~ England Backstamp ~ Rare ?Vintage Royal Albert Bone China 10" Sandwich Tray W/ Creamer And Sugar Bowl.Royal Albert Beatrix Potter Figurine No More TwistRoyal Albert Beatrix Potter Figurine Hunca Munca Spills The BeadsRoyal Albert Paradise Pattern Black Footed Cup & Saucer W/platinum TrimOld Country Roses Rare, Bird Ornament, Vgc, 1993-2002, England, Royal AlbertMint Vintage Royal Albert Bone China England Lavender Rose TeapotRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Coffee Cup & Lid England 19626 Old Country Roses Tea Cups & Saucers, Good Condition, England, Royal Albert