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A buyer's guide to Royal Worcester figurines

Royal Worcester is a 260 years old brand, manufacturing delicate figurines made of porcelain and bone china. Royal Worcester figurines are collectors' items worth thousand of pounds. The manufacturing house was established in 1751 at Warmstry House, Worcester. It was the brainchild of Dr. John Wall and William Davy who perfected a new way of making porcelain.

Wigornia is Worcester

Dr. Wall and Davy convinced 13 businessmen to pool into a partnership. With ₤4500, they started a factory which produced Royal Worcester porcelain. Today, the factory is owned by the Portmeirion Group. The value of the products made by the factory in the eighteenth century can be gauged from an auction of an antique Royal Worcester Wigornia (Roman name for Worcester) creamboat which went for almost ₤ 60,000 in an auction in 2006.

Royal patronage

Royal Worcester was granted a license by King George III to use the royal court of arms on things that they manufactured for the royal house. Royal Worcester still manufactures things for Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II. From its inception to the present day, Royal Worcester as a manufacturing unit has changed hands many times. Each time, a new owner brought some new ideas and development which led to the current value of its figurines.

Duplicates abound

It should be kept in mind that Royal Worcester figures or figurines are copied today by many unscrupulous manufacturers and sold as genuine. Therefore, the help of an expert is required while buying these delicate creations. The factory placed esoteric Royal Worcester marks at the bottom of the figurines though sadly, these can be forged too. The most famous figurines and the most frequently copied are a Jenny Lind figurine and ‘the mongrel pup.’

A great collection

The twentieth century collection of Royal Worcester bone china figurines includes ‘Grace,’ ‘months of the year’ which is a delightful collection of six boys and six girls to make a set ‘Maytime and ‘Henry VIII.’ If we look at the Royal Worcester birds collection, the favourites include a pair of Woodpeckers, Goosie Goosie Gander and a blue jay. Other birds available are an American Robin, linnets, chaffinches, wood warbler and a blue tit. Each figurine and bird was based on a painting done by a Royal Worcester painter. The most famous for making figurines are Donald Brindley, Ronald van Ruyckevelt and Agnes Pinder Davis. Famous Royal Worcester painters for birds include James Alder, James Stinton and Charles Baldwyn. William Powell did small British birds and Harry Davis was famous for sheep and fish. Royal Worcester figurines are prized possessions of collectors all over the world and one can devote a lifetime and a fortune to their study and acquisition.

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