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    

Old Country Roses Cardew Novelty Teapot, 1st Quality, Vgc, England, Royal Albert6 Old Country Roses Soup Coupes & Saucers, 1st Qlty, Gc, 1973-93, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses 3-tier Cake Stand, Good Condition, 1962-73, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Large Teapot, 8-9 Cups, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1973-93 Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Lidded Veg. Tureen, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1973-93, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Moonlight Rose Gold Plated Butter Knife And Jam Spoon. 1992Old Country Roses Miniature Tea Set, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1993-2002 Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Tea Pot Creamer And Sugar SetA Celebration Of The Old Country Roses Garden Plate, Vgc, England, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert - Old Country Roses - Sandwich Tray, Oval Tray & Two Oval Dishes6 Old Country Roses Bone China Coasters, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1962-73, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert England Summer Bounty Series Jade Bone China Cup & Saucer Royal Albert Bone China Lady Carlyle Tea Cup And SaucerOld Country Roses Floral Pig Ornament, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1993-2002, Royal AlbertVintage Royal Albert Lady Carlyle England Bone China Tea Cup & Saucer SetRare Royal Albert Senorita Pattern Large Teapot. 9pc Royal Albert Old Country Roses 6-cup Tea Pot Cups & Saucers Set + BonusOld Country Roses Medium Coffee Pot, 8 Cups, 1962-73, England, Royal Albert6 Old Country Roses Table Mats, Good Condition, Made In England, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Large Teapot, 8-9 Cups, 1973-93, Made In England, Royal AlbertA Handpainted 1920/30s Royal Albert Trio Butterfly Handle Buttercup PatternOld Country Roses Large Teapot, 8-9 Cups, Vgc, 1973-93, England, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Mouse Figurine /ornament, Gc, 1993-2002, England, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Cotton, Oval Tablecloth, Very Good Condition, Royal Albert2 Royal Albert Black & Gold "roses" Tea Cups & SaucersSet 6 Royal Albert Pink Lady Carlyle Dinner PlatesRoyal Albert, Summer Bounty Series, Jade, Cup & Saucer, Fine Bone China, EnglandRoyal Albert Trio **lady Hamilton** First Issue, First Quality Made In EnglandOld Country Roses Large Coffee Pot, Good Condition, 1993-2002, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Rare, Floral Salt & Pepper Cruet Set, 1973-93, Royal AlbertC 1989 Beatrix Potter Tom Kitten & Butterfly Royal Albert Warne & Co BeswickOld Country Roses Milk Jug & Sugar Bowl, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1962-73, Royal Albert6 Old Country Roses Napkin Rings, 1st Qlty, Vgc, 1973-93, England, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Sculpted Napkin Rings, Set Of 4Old Country Roses Large Teapot, 8-9 Cups, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1962-73 Royal Albert6 Old Country Roses 16cm Side Plates, Good Condition, 1973-93, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Cup & Saucer 1962 England Bone ChinaRoyal Albert Tea Cup Saucer Merrie England Series Trentham Pink RosesOld Country Roses Floral Flower Basket, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1993-2002 Royal Albert6 Old Country Roses Cotton Napkins, Very Good Condition, Uk Made, Royal AlbertBeautiful Royal Albert Old English Rose Large TeapotRoyal Albert - Haworth - Oval Covered Vegetable Dish / Tureen Vintage Royal Albert Old Country Roses Trinket BoxVintage Royal Albert American Beauty Trio - Tea Cup, Saucer & Square Side PlateOld Country Roses Small Floral Bridge, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1993-2002, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Old English Sheepdog Figurine, Gc, 1993-2002, Royal AlbertVintage Royal Albert Flower Of The Month Cup And Saucer Cosmos OctoberVintage Royal Albert Crown China England Porcelain Teacup Saucer Set PrudenenceOld Country Roses Floral Wheelbarrow, 1st Quality, Gc, 1973-93, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Floral Elephant, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1993-2002, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Small Floral Boot, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1993-2002 Royal AlbertOld Country Roses 3-tier Cake Stand, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1962-73, Royal Albert6 Old Country Roses 13.5cm Fruit Bowls, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1973-93, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Tea Pot - Old Country Roses 1998 Pretty! Vintage Royal Albert Lady Carlyle Trio - 1st Original BackstampOld Country Roses Rare, Oval Plate, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1993-2002, Royal Albert6 Old Country Roses 20.5cm Dessert Plates, 1st Qlty, Gc, 1973-93, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert New Country Roses China Cream Soup Cup & Saucer Pink With Roses Old Country Roses Floral Cottage, 1st Quality, Gc, 1973-93, England Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Holiday Deviled Egg Tray