Certain patterns used in pottery have quite a history. Old Country Rose from Royal Albert is one of them. It is one of a bunch of patterns, mainly florals, that the company has produced for the past 118 years, and it is the best known.
The Royal Albert pottery, established in 1896 in Stoke-on-Trent, pays homage to Prince Albert, born in 1895, who eventually was crowned king and renamed George VI when his elder brother Edward abdicated to be with Wallis Simpson. (His great-grandfather was an earlier Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria.) The company was originally named Albert Crown China, with “Royal” added in 1904. The founder was Thomas Wild in the town of Longton, one of six towns making up Stoke-on-Trent. He was inspired by “everything English,” from country gardens full of profusions of flowering plants to roses, which are the national flower of England. They have progressed through the years to have a reputation for being at once traditional and avant-garde.
Early shapes for teacups and other pieces were fluted for the most part, and the colors were mainly shades of green, blue, and red. Royal commemoratives were first produced in 1897 as a celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Exporting to New Zealand started in 1910, with Canada, Australia, and the U.S. following closely behind. Innovations like gas- and electric-fired kilns where there was better control over the firing of the pieces were embraced and helped the company soar above competitors. The real appeal, though, was that pure and brilliant white fine bone china in rococo and floral designs that gave their wares a distinctly British appearance yet met a global taste.
The Old Country Rose pattern was launched in 1962, almost 70 years after the company’s founding, and has grown to be their most popular, with sales recorded around the world and a volume to date of about 150 million pieces sold since the pattern was first introduced. It is based on an older pattern the company had, “King’s Ransom.”
Today, you can still add that “regal” touch to your tea time yet retain that cozy country atmosphere with some Old Country Rose teawares from Royal Albert. You don’t have to go crazy and buy the whole set. In fact, these days eclectic is in, where you serve your tea into a varied set of teacups. Of course, if you prefer everything matching, go for it! The choice is yours. That’s the beauty of personal choice.
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