The Worcester factory was started in the mid 18th Century by Dr John Wall, a physician, and William Davis, an apothecary. They came into contact around 1750-1751 with the Bristol porcelain manufactory of Lund and Miller. Eventually, having persuaded others to invest in the business, they staged a buy out of the Bristol factory. The early wares were soft-paste porcelain with bodies that contained soaprock, commonly known in academic circles as soapstone.
Wall retired in 1774, but the factory continued until Thomas Flight, took over.
In 1788 the factory was granted its royal warrant following a royal visit and the name changed to the ‘Royal Porcelain Works’.
The late 18th Century saw hardship for the company as competition from cheap Chinese export porcelain and from other English factories made trading difficult.
Martin Barr joined the firm as partner in 1792. The firm went through a series of name changes in the late 18th and early 19th Century as the factory was left in the hands of both Flight’s and Barr’s children. It changed names several times in subsequent years to Flight & Barr; then Barr, Flight & Barr; and Flight, Barr & Barr.
The name Worcester is also associated with hard-paste porcelain items made at Chamberlain's Factory and Grainger's Factory, Both of these began as decorating shops, painting "blanks" made by other factories, but began to make their own porcelain after a while.
In 1840, at a time when both businesses were in difficulties, it merged with the main Flight and Barr concern as ‘Chamberlain & Company’.
During the later 19th and early 20th centuries, the factory was particularly renowned for the high quality ornamental pieces by artist decorators.
However by the late 1920’s sales were falling and it was declared bankrupt in 1930. It was saved by C W Dyson Perrins and led by Joseph Grimson entered another 'golden age'. New freelance modellers were introduced and the product range was refreshed and expanded.
In the 1960’s the popular ‘Evesham’ range of oven to tableware was launched.
In 1976 Royal Worcester merged with Spode, but endured heavy completion from overseas throughout the late 20th Century. Eventually, the company went into administration on 6 November 2008, the brand name and intellectual property were acquired by Portmeirion Pottery Group, but the purchase did not include the Royal Worcester and Spode manufacturing facilities.
Today, Worcester items from the 18th to the 20th Century are prized by collectors from around the world. Anderson & Garland have handled many collections over the years and are recognized as one of the UK’s leading Auctioneers and Valuers in this area, achieving the very best prices for its customers.
Our specialists are particularly interested in items by decorators such as: Charles Baldwyn, William Bee, Reginald (Harry) Austin, Walter Austin, William Bagnall, Harry Ayrton, Henry Chair, Thomas Baxter, Kitty Blake, William Billingsley, Harry and James Stinton, David Bates, James Hadley, Christopher Dresser, Charles Baldwin, Harry Davis, Peter Ewence, George Evans, William Hawkins, George Johnson ,Ernest Phillips ,William Powell ,Frank Roberts ,Frank R. Rushton, Edwin Salter, Richard Sebright and Dorothy Doughty, to name but a few.
Please remember, selling by auction is the only way to achieve the true value of your possessions. We act as your agent at all times and are here to maximize your return, for which we take a fixed percentage commission.
Don’t be misled, misguided or even tricked into selling your items to unscrupulous individuals for cash deals. They offer way under market value and then go on to sell the items for a vast profit.
Simply fill out the online valuation form below for a free pre-sale estimate or ring 0191 430 3000 to arrange a free pre-sale valuation with one of our specialists at our Newcastle salerooms. Free home visits are available where appropriate.
An early Worcester shell dish, circa 1753-54. Sold for £900
Pair of Royal Worcester vases and covers, signed ''Freeman''. Sold for £7,400.
Royal Worcester: a vase, shape number 2193, painted with doves by Charles Baldwyn.
Sold for £5,000
Kerr & Binns Worcester beaker, painted by Thomas Bott
Sold for £2,000
Royal Worcester: a group of Circus Horses, by Doris Lindner.
18th Century Worcester printed ''Marquess of Granby'' mug, of Seven Years' War and Blues and Royals interest.
Sold for £1,150
Ceramics Auction Highlights