Royal Worcester was an English ceramics company. Founded by John Wall and William Davis in 1751, following their successful experimentation with techiques for producing porcelain, it remained in existence until the turn of the millennium, when financial difficulties and foreign competition forced layoffs and a shutdown in 2006. The company closed for good in 2009.
Royal Worcester is now part of the Portmeirion Group; upmarket china items are produced under the Royal Worcester banner.
Due to changes in owenship, the company has had different names at various points in its history:
- The Worcester Tonquin Manufactory
- Kerr and Binns
- Flight Barr and Barr; Barr Flight Barr
- Royal Porcelain Works
- Royal Worcester
See Catalogue of Royal Worcester artists.
Royal Worcester had high standards for artistry and consequently has had many famous artists and modelers. Among these are the members Stinton Dynasty, the Doughty sisters, Charles Baldwyn, Harry Davis, and master modeller and teacher James Hadley. A group of young paintresses (female painters) which included Kitty Blake, were known as the ‘Saucy Six’ and became famous for pranks and shenanigans in town. Royal Worcester artists were often assigned subjects based on their talents (animals, fruit, landscapes etc.); they usually painted the subjects they were best at and are often associated with and remembered for these, such as Harry Stinton’s cattle, Kitty Blake’s fruit and Charles Baldwyn’s swans.
Royal Worcester produced some of the finest porcelain in the world, but it was always susceptible to changes in the market, and suffered financial difficulties whenever there was a slump in the market for luxury goods. It merged with Spode in 1976.