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 Flowers Of The Month Teapot 1984 - Excellent Condition6 Old Country Roses, Gold Plated Tea Spoons, Very Good Condition, Royal Albert6 Old Country Roses Napkin Rings, Good Condition, 1973-93, England, Royal Albert1962 1st Quality Royal Albert Old Country Roses Miniature Tea Set With Boxes1st Quality Royal Albert Old Country Roses Miniature Cake Stand Tazza BoxedComplete Royal Albert Old Country Roses Ruby Celebration Pink Chintz Tea Set!!!Royal Albert Old Country Rose Dinner/tea/serving SetRoyal Albert Eng China Large Tea Pot And Lid "highland Thistle" Mint Condition Royal Albert Senorita Trio Cup, Saucer & Plate Black Lace & Rose C1950s Gorgeous 18 Piece Tea Set Royal Albert Mothers Day Old English Rose .gold Trim Lovely Vintage 1944 Royal Albert Bone China Lady Carlyle TeapotRoyal Albert Lavender Rose Tea Pot Set, 6 Cups/saucersRare 1927-35 Royal Albert Crown China Harebell Coffee Set For 4:pot, Duos, SugarRoyal Albert Teapot Old Country Roses Chintz Collection Light Green BackgroundRoyal Albert 5 Cup Val D'or Teapot Rare Victoria ShapeVintage Royal Albert Cup And Saucer Treasure Chest Series Cobalt Blue RoseRoyal Albert Rare Tea Pot In Cotswold Design Signed By A.waggVintage Royal Albert Bone China England American Beauty Tea Cup & Saucer Fluted Vintage Royal Albert 1940's Blossom Time Tea Pot (discontinued)Large Royal Albert Tea Pot Tranquility Holds 4 To 6 Cups Royal Albert Lady Carlyle Tureen Bottom Only Near Mint!!!Royal Albert Bone China Gravy Boat With Saucer (under Plate) In “concerto” PatteRoyal Albert Treasure Chest Series - Rose Garland Tea Cup & SaucerRoyal Albert China - Berkeley - 17 Pc Set - Cake Plate, C&s, Plates, Cream/sugarRoyal Albert England Old Country Roses 28 Pc. China Set Service For 4 Royal Albert - 1960s - Gold Crest Series - Violets & Gold Border Tea Cup NrWide Royal Albert England Heavy Gold Treasure Chest Bone China Tea Cup & SaucerRoyal Albert Old Country Roses - Flower Vase Bouquet Figurine Figure Bone China Royal Albert Set Of 4 Lady Hamilton Teacups & Saucers Made In EnglandScarce Royal Albert China Val D'or Pattern White Quarter Pound Butter DishRoyal Albert Old Country Rose Large Teapot And 4 Mugs New1962 Royal Albert Bone China Old Country Roses White And Floral Teapot With LidRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Cookie Jar & Lid In Seasons Of Colour BirdhouseRoyal Albert Green Chintz Old Country Roses Ruby Celebration Mib Cup & Saucer KkSet (12) Royal Albert Old Country Roses 6-1/4" Bread & Butter PlatesBeautiful Antique Royal Albert Bone China Fruit Decorated Tea Cup EnglandRoyal Albert Crown China Trio - **poppyland** Hand Painted, Glorious ColoursRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Pattern CompoteSet (9) Royal Albert Old Country Roses 8-1/8" Salad PlatesRoyal Albert England Old Country Roses Gravy Boat & Underplate Bone China Royal Albert "prudence" Pink China Cup & Saucer Reg# 821113 #4Royal Albert Val D'or Rare Miniature Tea/coffee SetRoyal Albert "prudence" Pink China Cup & Saucer Reg# 821113 #73 Royal Albert Prudence Blue Cups And SaucersVintage Royal Albert Bone China Teacup/saucer Rose Du Barry Series "marie"Royal Albert Old Country Roses (4) Coffee MugsRoyal Albert Treasure Chest Series Red & Yellow Rose Cup & Saucer Old Country Roses Large Teapot, 8-9 Cups, 1st Quality, Vgc, 1973-93 Royal AlbertRoyal Albert "moonlight Rose" Pattern England Bone China Pedestal Bowl~beautifulRoyal Albert Moonlight Rose Wall Clock First QualityRoyal Albert Lavinia Tea Cup & Saucer Sheraton Series Bone ChinaRoyal Albert Moonlight Rose 2 Tea Cups And Saucers First Quality Set 2Set Royal Albert Old Country Roses 4-cup Teapot + (4) Teacups & (4) SaucersRoyal Albert Beatrix Potter Babbitty Bumble Porcelain Figurine1989 F Warne Royal Albert Vintage Eng China Tea Cup & Saucer White Blue Birds Exc Cond!Set (12) Royal Albert Old Country Roses 10-1/4" Dinner PlatesVintage Royal Albert Old Country Roses Swan Ornament Trinket Pot In Original BoxRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Bone China 1962 3 Piece Complete Tea SetOld Country Roses - Royal Albert - 10" Cake Plates - Lot Of TwoRoyal Albert Old Country Roses Bone China Large Tea Pot - 1962 With Handle Rare