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 Large Tea Pot, Good Condition, 1962-73, England, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert "old Country Roses" Large Tea Pot Made In England,1962-73 BackstampRoyal Albert Bone China Tea Cups And Saucers Old Country Roses - Set Of FourRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Cheese Dish Or Wedge + BaseLady Carlyle 3-tier Cake Stand, Good Condition, Made In England, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert "old Country Roses" Mustard Pot And Teaspoon, Vgc6 Old Country Roses Coffee Cups & Saucers, Good Condition, 1962-73, Royal AlbertVtg Royal Albert Old Country Roses Teapot Novelty Miniature Cardew Fireplace Royal Albert - Old Country Roses - Six Various DishesRoyal Albert Lady Carlyle Pink Rose Tea Cup Saucer England Bone ChinaRoyal Albert "old Country Roses" Bone China Cup And Saucer- Made In EnglandOld Country Roses 3-tier Cake Stand, Good Condition, 1973-93, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Pedestal Serving Bowl 7" England Ribbon CollectnRoyal Albert * Old Country Roses * 7 1/2" Teapot & LidRoyal Albert Bp Beatrix Potter - Babbitty Bumble The Bee - Unusual!Royal Albert Tea Cup & Saucer -green Park Series - Floral6 Old Country Roses Soup Coupes, Good Condition, 1962-73, England, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert "old Country Roses" Preserve Pot And Teaspoon, Vgc, 1962-1973Old Country Roses Lidded Tureen, 1st Qlty, Good Condition, 1962-73,royal Albert6 Old Country Roses 16cm Cereal Bowls, 1st Quality, 1962-73 Royal AlbertRoyal Albert Old Country Roses 6 Gold Plated Tea Spoons, Boxed, PerfectRoyal Albert Moonlight Rose 6 Gold Plated Tea Spoons, Boxed, New ***rare***Royal Albert Old Country Roses TeapotRoyal Albert 1996 Large "old Country Roses" Chintz Fireplace Teapot - True Mint!Royal Albert Old Country Roses Pedestal Serving Bowl 7" England Anniversary RareRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Napkins Set Of 4 "new"Royal Albert "old Country Roses" Bone China Rectangular Plate2 Royal Albert * Old Country Roses * Cream Soup Bowls Handled & SaucersRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Pedestal Sweet Serving Bowl 7" England Original Royal Albert Gold Black Pink Large Opening Tourmaline Cup & SaucerOld Country Roses Medium Tea Pot, Good Condition, 1962-73, England, Royal Albert2 Royal Albert * Old Country Roses * 9 1/2" Large Rim Soup BowlsRoyal Albert Green Park Series Tea Cup & SaucerRoyal Albert Lady Carlyle Bone China Teacups, Cake Plates, Teapot 2 SetsRoyal Albert Moonlight Rose 3 Cups & Saucers W/second Marks,very NiceRoyal Albert Old Country Roses 6 Tea Cups & 6 Saucers England Original Flawless~Royal Albert Rose Garland Large China Teapot Victorian Shabby Cottage Chic Pink 2 Royal Albert "lady Hamilton" Tea Cups & Saucers Made In England, 1st QualityOld Country Roses 65-piece Flatware Set Royal Albert New Serve Stainless SteelRoyal Albert "old Country Roses" Covered Handled Sugar Bowl, 1962-1973, VgcRoyal Albert "old Country Roses" Sandwich Platter, 1962-1973, Made In EnglandRoyal Albert Old Country Roses 6-piece Place Setting Service For 4 24pcRoyal Albert Trio - ***oriental*** Scarce Pattern Fabulous ConditionVintage Large 10 " Coffee Pot Royal Albert Old Country Roses England 4 Vintage Royal Albert Old English Rose Bone China, Cups & Saucers MintOld Country Roses 26.5cm (10.5") Comport, Vgc, 1993-2002, England, Royal AlbertOld Country Roses Large 25cm Coffee Pot, Good Condition, 1962-73, Royal AlbertRoyal Albert - Old Country Roses - Covered Vegetable Dish / Tureen Beautiful Royal Albert Tea Cup And Saucer AntiqueRoyal Albert 'south Pacific' Lemon/black & White Tea Cup & Saucer 1950's - Rare7 Tea Spoons, Boxed, Lovely Enamelled Bowls To Match Royal Albert ChinaRoyal Albert "old Country Roses" Dog Figurine/ Ornament, Very Good ConditionOld Country Roses 41cm (16") Oval Serving Platter, Good Condition, Royal AlbertLot Of 2 Vintage Royal Albert Tea Cups American Beauty & White Dogwood EnglandBeautiful Royal Albert Tea Cup And Saucer. AntiqueLot Of Tea Cups & Saucers Including Royal Albert & Sadler Of EnglandRoyal Albert Tea Cup And Saucer, Bone China. Made In England. AntiqueRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Six Piece Gold-plated Utensils! New In Box! Mint!Royal Albert Pink White Floral Heavy Gold Avon Tea Cup And Saucer4 Royal Albert * Old Country Roses * 8 1/8" Salad Plates