Collecting Royal Albert Old Country Roses China

Collecting Royal Albert Old Country Roses China: A Guide for Enthusiasts

Royal Albert Old Country Roses

For over 60 years, Royal Albert's "Old Country Roses" has captured the hearts of floral china collectors and enthusiasts around the world. With its classic English design of vibrant roses and rich gold accents, it’s no wonder that the Royal Albert Old Country Roses Royal china pattern has become one of the most recognised china patterns of all time, and remains one of the most popular and most collected English bone china designs. Whether you’re a seasoned Royal Albert collector or a budding enthusiast, diving into the world of Old Country Roses can be a delightful journey through floral elegance and rich history.

The Allure of Old Country Roses

A Brief History

First introduced in 1962 by Royal Albert, a well established English china producer renowned for its high quality bone china and floral china patterns, the Old Country Roses china pattern was the work of Harold Holdcroft, the head of design at Royal Albert at the time. His vision was to create a china pattern that embodied the quintessential English country rose garden, for the mid century china market, and he succeeded with stunning results. The design was based on an discontinued old Royal Albert china pattern called Kings Ransome, and the pattern would be produced on fine white bone china moulded in the Montrose shape. The china pattern features a bouquet of pink, red, and yellow roses in full bloom, edged with a 22-carat burnished gold rim. 

His vision would become a great commercial success for Royal Albert, with Old Country Roses becoming the single most produced china pattern of the 20th century. The china pattern has stood the test of time and is still produced today. 

Why Collect Old Country Roses?

  1. Aesthetic appeal: The floral china design’s vibrant and romantic rose pattern has stood the test of time and makes it a standout in any mixed collection of china. The detailed roses, paired with the burnished gold trim, create a piece of china that is both visually stunning and evocative of classic English bone china heritage.
  2. Large range of pieces for collectors to acquire. Over its long period of production Royal Albert has applied this china pattern to a range of items including tea sets, dinnerware, tablewares, vases, clocks, and multiple accessories. 
  3. Versatility: Old Country Roses china is more than just beautiful to look at; it’s highly versatile and easy to use. The extensive range includes everything from traditional tea sets to dinnerware and decorative items, making it easy to incorporate into various aspects of home décor. 
  4. Quality and craftsmanship: Made from fine bone china, these pieces are renowned for their durability and quality. The meticulous craftsmanship ensures that each piece is not only a work of art but also built to last.
  5. Historical value: Each piece of Royal Albert china tells a story, and older items, especially those made in England and from the initial years of production, often come with a rich history. Collectors can find joy in tracing the origins and changes in the design over the decades.
  6. Still in production: Although no longer made in England Old Country Roses china is still being produced under the Royal Albert brand and is widely available throughout the world.

Starting your collection of Royal Albert

Identifying genuine pieces

When collecting Old Country Roses, it’s essential to be able to identify authentic pieces of Royal Albert china. Here are some tips:

  • Backstamps: Genuine pieces will have the Royal Albert mark on the bottom. Over the years, this mark has changed, so familiarising yourself with the various backstamps can help you date the pieces and verify their authenticity.
  • Quality: Check for the quality of the design and the gold rim. Authentic pieces will have a crisp, clear pattern and a smooth, even gold trim.
  • Weight and feel: Bone china has a distinctive feel – it’s lightweight yet durable. Pieces should feel solid but not overly heavy.
  • First or second quality: Over the years of production Royal Albert released both first quality and second quality for sale. Seconds were identified by scratching or drilling part of the Royal Albert China Factory Mark on the base of the china. These marks can sometimes be very subtle to spot, and often its impossible even to the trained eye to spot why a particular piece of china was chosen to be a second.  Many china dealers including myself suspect that in an increasingly competitive late 20th century marketplace Royal Albert was coming under pressure and was choosing to mark a percentage of their production as seconds to facilitate sales through cheaper outlets, while still maintaining the price of the first quality china in its established retail outlets. 

Where to Find Them

  • Antique shops and auctions: Local antique shops and auction houses can be treasure troves for finding older, rare pieces of Old Country Roses.

  • Online Marketplaces: Websites like eBay, Etsy, and specialised china websites like Vintage Farmhouse Antiques often have a vast selection of Old Country Roses china pieces. When buying online, always check seller reviews and ask for detailed photos or videos to ensure authenticity and condition.

  • Estate sales, charity shops, antique fairs and flea markets: These can be excellent places to find unique pieces at a reasonable price. Patience and persistence often pay off in discovering hidden treasure.

Building a collection of Royal Albert Old Country Roses

  • Start Small: Begin with a few pieces that you love, such as a teacup and saucer set or a dinner plate. As you become more familiar with the pattern and its variations, you can expand your china collection.

  • Focus on what you love: Whether you’re drawn to china tea sets, dinnerware, or decorative pieces, focusing on what excites you will make collecting more enjoyable and personal for you.

  • Learn about variations: Old Country Roses has been produced in many variations, including special editions and limited releases. Learning about these can add depth to your collection and help you find unique and rare items.

Caring for your Royal Albert bone china

Handling and cleaning

  • Hand Wash Only: Although many Old Country Roses pieces are labeled as dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended to preserve the gold trim and delicate floral patterns.

  • Avoid abrasives: Use a soft cloth or sponge and mild detergent. Avoid abrasive cleaners or pads that can damage the finish of the bone china.

  • Proper Storage: Store your china in a safe, dry place. If stacking plates, place a soft cloth or felt between each one to prevent scratches.

Displaying your china collection

  • Cabinets and shelves: Displaying your pieces in a glass-fronted cabinet or on open shelves can highlight their beauty and protect them from dust and damage.

  • Rotating displays: If you have a large collection of Old country Roses china, consider rotating your displays to keep your arrangement fresh and to enjoy different pieces throughout the year.

Investing in Old Country Roses china

Value and rarity

The value of Old Country Roses pieces can vary widely based on age, rarity, and condition. Early production pieces, especially those with unique backstamps or limited edition releases, tend to be more valuable. Staying informed about market trends and prices can help you make savvy purchasing decisions.

Future Prospects

With its enduring appeal and rich history, Old Country Roses continues to be a worthwhile investment for china collectors. As more people discover the charm of this timeless pattern, its desirability and value are likely to increase.

Conclusion

Collecting Royal Albert Old Country Roses is more than just a hobby; it’s a way to bring a piece of English elegance and history into your home. Whether you’re drawn to the intricate design, the quality craftsmanship, or the joy of finding a rare piece, building an Old Country Roses collection can be a fulfilling and rewarding pursuit. So, why not start your journey today and immerse yourself in the beauty of these iconic English roses?

Browse our selection of Royal Albert Old Country Roses China for sale online

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