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”)

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    

Beautiful Royal Albert, "dainty Blue" Tea Pot, England6 Royal Albert Old Country Roses Handled Soup Coupes & Saucers VgcRoyal Albert Lady Carlyle Teacup Trios X 2Great Beswick Albert Hallam Norwegian Fjord Dun Coloured Horse With StickerTea Cup And Saucer Lot Of 7 Royal Albert, Royal StandardVtg Royal Albert Moss Rose Bone China Tea Set Lot Teapot Cups Creamer Sugar BowlSet 6 X Soup Cereal Bowls Royal Albert Old Country Roses - Mint Large LotRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Small Teapot Original 1962-73 VgcBeautiful, Royal Albert, "dainty Blue, Cups/saucers (3) 4 Heavy Gold Old English Rose Mother's Day Royal Albert Tea Cup Saucer Plates & Royal Albert - Moonlight Rose - Miniature Teapot & Miniature Teacup Mint4 Royal Albert Old Country Roses Beaker Coffee Mugs Original 1962-73 VgcRoyal Albert Old English Rose Cream And Covered Sugar BowlBeautiful, Royal Albert, "dainty Blue, Cream & Sugar, EnglandVintage Royal Albert Blossom Time England Hot Water Pitcher Pot JugRoyal Albert Moonlight Rose Medium Teapot 1st Quality Small Vintage Royal Albert Val D'or Tea PotRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Sandwich Tray 1st Quality 1962-73 VgcRare Royal Albert Old Country Roses 1 Pint Milk Jug 1962-73 1st Quality VgcRoyal Albert Yellow American Beauty England Bone China Tea Cup & Saucer Set DuoSmall Tea Pot Country Roses Royal Albert Bone China Royal Albert Old English Rose Tea PotRoyal Albert Trio "moonlight Rose" Second C1987Royal Albert Moonlight Rose Tea Cup & Saucer Bone China England Blue White 1987Royal Albert Old English Rose Lovely Small Teapot Shelf PrettyVintage Set 6 Royal Albert Fine Bone China Old Country Roses Dessert BowlsBeautiful, Royal Albert, "dainty Blue, Cake PlateRoyal Albert Black American Beauty England Bone China Tea Cup & Saucer Set DuoRoyal Albert England Pink Rose Gold Trim Green Hand Painted Tea Cup & Saucer DuoRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Porcelain Teapot Stand 1962-73 VgcRoyal Albert Crown China Trio - **kentish Rockery** Fabulous Cond. Great Colours(4 Pc) Royal Albert "prudence" Pink China Cup Saucer 6” Plate 8" Dinner PlateRoyal Albert Cup And Saucer, Green Chintz Ruby Celebration Old Country RosesRoyal Albert Bone China England Gold Old English Rose Wide Tea Cup & SaucerRoyal Albert Celebration Large 2 Pint Teapot VgcVintage Lot Of 5 Tea Cups & Saucers - Various Makers Royal Albert Queen Anne1962 Royal Albert Old Country Roses (2) Plates Sets Dinner Bread Salad EnglandSix Gold Plated Teaspoons Country Roses Royal Albert Bone China BoxedRoyal Albert Beautiful Handled Sandwich Plate- Concerto Pattern -mint Cond.Vintage Royal Albert Val D'or Rectangular Cake Or Sandwich Plate TrayRoyal Albert Bouquet Series "crimson Glory" Cup And Saucer EucRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Small Tea Pot With Lid , Royal Albert Old Country Roses Oblong Butter Dish With Lid Made In England Set Of 4 Royal Albert Old Country Roses 8" Rim Soup Bowls 62Royal Albert Old Country Roses 1986 Garden Celebration, Bone China Cup & SaucerRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Lidded Preserve Jar 1962-73 VgcVintage Royal Albert Red And White Polka Dot Pattern Excellent Made In England Small Vintage Royal Albert Val D'or Jug And BowlSix Gold Plated Small Forks Country Roses Royal Albert Bone China BoxedRoyal Albert Mr. Tod Beatrix Potter Figurine.Lot Of 4 Sets Royal Albert Bone China “serena” Double Handled Soup Bowls/platesRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Victorian Breakfast Table Paul Cardew TeapotVintage Royal Albert Provincial Flowers Cup & Saucer Lady's SlipperVintage Royal Albert Val D'or Two Tier Cake StandCollectible Royal Albert 1975 Provincial Flowers Fireweed Bone China Cup&saucerC1930's Royal Albert Crown China Hand Painted Royalty Trio Tea Cup & Saucer SetRoyal Albert Cream & Sugar With Regal Tray, Rare Senorita PatternVintage Royal Albert Blossom Time England Coffee Server PotRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Tea CaddyRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Individual Teapot & Teacup Set