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    

Royal Albert Old English Rose T For 2 Teaset Teapot Jug Bowl 2x Cup & Saucer2 Old Country Roses Avon Style Tea Cups & Saucers, 1973-93, Royal AlbertLarge Lot Of 50pc Royal Albert Old Country Rose China Unused Old Country Roses Miniature Tea Set, Vgc, 1973-93, Ornamental, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert - Coffee Set 12 Pieces Green & Gold - 1st Qlty And Perfect !! C1927Vintage Royal Albert Old English Rose Pattern Cup, Saucer & Side Plate Trio6 Beautiful Royal Albert Porcelain Footed Cups & Saucers ~ Lavender Rose ~ GoldRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Chintz Set, 2 Cups, 2 Saucers, 2 Desert PlatesOld Country Roses Gravy / Sauce Boat & Stand, 1st Qlty, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Large Table Lamp, Very Good Condition, Royal AlbertNib Royal Albert Polka Blue Roses Three Piece Tea Set Teapot Creamer & SugarRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Cigarette Box 1962-73 1st Quality Royal Albert - Lavender Rose Tea Trio - 1st Quality And Perfect !!100 Years Of Royal Albert 1940's English Chintz Tea Set Teapot, Creamer, & SugarRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Large 2 Pint Teapot 1973-93 1st Quality Vgc Good Royal Albert Fine Bone China " Old English Rose " Trio. #2.Royal Albert Vintage Old Country Roses Tray With Two TrivetsRoyal Albert - Old Country Roses - Covered Vegetable Dish / Tureen Two Royal Albert Tea Cups & Saucers Black W/ Yellow Red & Pink Roses Gold TrimOld Country Roses Mantel Clock, 1st Qualtiy, Vgc, 1993-2002, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses 20 Pc China Set Royal Albert China 1962 EnglandVintage Royal Albert Old Country Roses 6 Tile Wooden TrayRoyal Albert Vintage Old English Rose Tea CupVintage Royal Albert Rendezvous Series Yellow & Floral W/gold Cup And SaucerOld Country Roses 1962 Teapot Sugar & Creamer Royal Albert China England6 Old Country Roses Coffee Cups & Saucers, 1962-73, 1st Quality, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Bone China Gravy Boat Floral2 Royal Albert Old Country Roses Mugs 1962-73 1st Quality Royal Albert English Bc Tea Cup Saucer Pattern Is American Beauty Pink Roses6 Old Country Roses Tea Cups & Saucers, 1973-93, 1st Quality, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses 2-tier Cake Stand, Base 26.5cm,good Condition, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Christmas Magic Sandwich Tray Old Country Roses DesignRoyal Albert Old Country Roses England 1st Original Mark 6 Cup Teapot Old Country Roses (cream) Soup Coupe & Saucer, 1st Qlty, Royal Albert6 Old Country Roses 16cm Side Plates, 1962-73, 1st Quality, Vgc, Royal AlbertVintage 1962 Royal Albert Old Country Roses 3-tier Cake Serving Stand6 Old Country Roses 16cm Cereal / Fruit Soup Bowls, Vgc, 1993-2002, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Enchantment Fine Bone China Trio Cup & Saucer & Plate6 Pc. Lot Royal Albert Old Country Roses Ring Holder & Mini Tea Pot Cup SaucerRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Floral Salt And Pepper Cruet Set 1962-73 1st QOld Country Roses Small Mantel Clock, 1st Qualtiy, Vgc, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old English Rose Covered Butter Dish - Mint Condition - EnglandVintage 1962 Royal Albert Old Country Roses Creamer & Sugar Bowl W/lidRare Royal Albert Old Country Roses 84" Table Runner Cloth Linen Doily W/tasslesRoyal Albert Bone China Tea Cup & Saucer. Friendship Series " Daffodil"Royal Albert Old Country Roses Tea For One Set Tea Pot Lid Saucer Lovely!Royal Albert "old Country Roses" 5pc Place Setting ,1 Set, Mint, Never Used #1Royal Albert Senorita Sandwich Tray First Quality 6 Double Handled Soup Bowls And Under Plates~old Country Roses~royal AlbertRare Royal Albert Flower Of The Month Tea Cup Lot! England! Complete Series!Royal Albert "old Country Roses" Fluted Serving Bowl And (2) Candlesticks- Eng.Royal Albert - Old Country Roses - Victorian Tea Table One Cup TeapotRoyal Albert Flower Of The Month Series Tennis Set-combo Cup & Plate -june RosesOld Country Roses Hampstead Footed Fruit Bowl, 1st Quality, Vgc, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses 'avon' Style Regal Tray, Good Condition, 1973-93, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Bone China England Heavy Gold Trim Wide Pansies Tea Cup & SaucerRoyal Albert "old Country Roses" -4- 10 & 1/2 " Dinner Plates New... Unused3 Royal Albert Old Country Roses Rimmed Soup Bowls 1962-73 1st Quality Royal Albert Autumn Roses England China Covered Soup Vegetable Dish LargeSet Of 2 New In Box Royal Albert Polka Blue Roses Teacups & Saucers