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John Wall and a group of 13 local businessmen who established a porcelain factory in Many experts believe Royal Worcester to be the oldest English porcelain brand still in existence today. John Wall, a physician, and William Davis, an apothecary, were trying to develop a method of porcelain production that could then be used to boost prosperity and employment in Worcester, came into contact with the Bristol porcelain manufactory of Lund and Miller.
They were using soapstone a type of metamorphic rock as a prime raw material in their porcelain production, this was a then-unique method for producing porcelain. By Robert Hancock had arrived at Worcester, the first man to apply transferring of prints onto porcelain. The earliest Worcester porcelain being painted in blue under the glaze. Worcester vanda. Around one of the first Royal dinner services was made for the Duke of Gloucester, four years later in , Dr John Wall retired, his partners continuing to manufacture porcelain until their London agent, Thomas Flight purchased the factory and took over in He let his two sons run the concern, with John Flight taking the lead role till his death in In George III, following a visit to the company, granted it a prestigious royal warrant, the word 'Royal' was added to the name.
During this period, the factory was in poor repair and production was limited to mostly Blue and White porcelain patterns after Chinese porcelain des of the period. It was also pressured by competition from inexpensive Chinese export porcelain. Thomas Flight died in , leaving the factory in the hands of his son Joseph Flight and Martin Barr, who ed the firm as a partner in ;. Both of these began as decorating shops in Worcester, painting "blanks" made by other factories, however after a few years the factories began to make their own porcelain. Chamberlain's Factory, which was very high quality, and in received its own royal warrant from the Prince Regent , had begun to manufacture by Grainger's Factory was making porcelain from , though not of quite the highest quality.
In manufacture was consolidated on the current factory site and major modernisation followed in During the early 20th century Royal Worcester took a traditional approach to shapes and decoration, Royal Worcester's most popular pattern has been "Evesham Gold", first offered in , depicting the autumnal fruits of the Vale of Evesham with fine gold banding on an "oven to table" body. Marks without the 51 are very rare and date a piece pre The Royal Mark The Royal Worcester marks were first introduced in , when the business restructured and became common place in These marks also incorporated the 51 inside a crescent within a larger circle, with the crown just above.
From , the crown attached to the circle itself. Royal Worcester printed mark, c. Initially, Royal Worcester conveyed the year of production through the use of letters of the alphabet. In , once those letters ran out, they implemented a code using dots. However this method became a little tedious, and by the marking system was changed again, as by that stage there were 24 dots around the Royal Worcester stamp. As a solution, in , a small star was introduced around which dots would sit to represent each following year. When the of dots was changed each year, the company found it was cheaper and easier to add the extra dot to existing copper plates — making cost and time savings in the process by avoiding having to create new des each year.
Royal Worcester introduced different shapes to the codes from until by they had three interlocking circles with nine dots arranged around them. The shapes included an open square, an open diamond, a division as well as circles and, of course, dots. In , the factory stamps reverted to a letter R beneath the mark. They also had a representing the lithographer and a date. The Colours of the Marks In the early years, Worcester marks were various colours, but from most were black or gold.
In , new factory stamps were introduced with an N replacing the M in a diamond under the rest of the mark, and then black s to identify the artist. In , the colour changed to grey with a new lithographer identification. Then in , the marks were printed in white to be even less intrusive. Due to the fact that the Royal Worcester Company encouraged their artists to specialise in a particular style, identification of the artists is a little easier. Subjects range from highland cattle to soft roses, from birds and butterflies to fish and castles, and each had their specialists.
Indeed, Worcester was renowned for the beautiful decorations, often with a rich background colour of blue, green, turquoise or claret. Usually, they were formed by white framed panels, which the artists decorated with their paintings. The faking of Worcester pottery has gone on for years. The inked backstamps themselves are relatively easy to fake, which is why you need to rely on other telltale s to spot discern a real piece of Worcester versus an imposter.
Hold it up to the light There are plenty of clues to be had as to the authenticity of Worcester pottery, simply by holding a piece up to the light. There is a greenish tone to Worcester soapstone, while daylight will highlight any restoration, repairs or cover ups that have taken place.
Aside from the issue of spotting a fake, detecting surface cracks and imperfections will help you to judge the value of a piece too. Remember too that a plate with a crack will sound different to a plate that has had no damage at all, when tapped against your hand for example.
Be wary of more decorative pieces Some pieces of Worcester are more highly sought after than others. For example, those with more intricate or higher levels of decoration. As a result, forgers often skin a piece - removing the original surface decoration and repainting in a more expensive de.
Another method used is clobbering - where new decoration is painted over the original, often just changing the ground colour. Look out for Worcester pieces that show any s of damage or thicker paintwork than the usual. A pair of Chamberlains Worcester armorial plates, 7. A rare Worcester tankard or mug, c. Click for Lot detail. When the factory celebrated its th anniversary in , it would have just eight years more trading.
The company went into administration on 6 November and on 23 April , the brand name and intellectual property were acquired by Portmeirion Pottery Group — a pottery and homewares company based in Stoke-on-Trent. As Portmeirion Group had a factory in Stoke-on-Trent, the purchase did not include the Royal Worcester and Spode manufacturing facilities. The Worcester firm's Severn Street factory was closed with work moving to Stoke-on-Trent and abroad to cut costs. Search form.
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How to Date Royal Worcester Pottery Marks?