A porcelain factory was established at Worcester in 1751 by Dr John Wall. It produced a soft-paste, soapstone porcelain. Its wares, which were more delicately potted than its English rivals, proved immensely popular. The factory excelled at tea and coffee set, jugs, vases and the like. (The soapstone paste was not suitable for large dishes.) Worcester wares were decorated with rich background shades of blue, green, turquoise and claret; these usually framed panels of white which were decorated with paintings.
In 1789, King George 111 granted the Worcester factory a Royal Warrant and “Royal” was added to its name.
In 1783, the factory was bought by Thomas Flight whose family continued to operate it for the next fifty years. At the same time, Robert Chamberlain, an apprentice of Wall’s, set up another factory in Worcester. Several craftsmen worked for both Worcester factories, which had similar styles. The two were merged in 1840 as Chamberlain & Co.
After World War 2, Royal Worcester was the first company to introduce the concept of oven-to-table ware to fine English porcelain, with which it achieved worldwide success.
Royal Worcester remains one of the largest manufacturers of fine bone china and porcelain in England.
(Worcester porcelain has been collected for a very long time and has been the subject of much faking and forgery. One test of genuine Worcester soapstone porcelain is to hold it up to a strong light – it should be translucent with a slightly greenish tinge.)