Research on Antiques & Collectibles

ROYAL CROWN DERBY (UK) - some history:

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The Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Company can trace its history back to the Golden Age of English Porcelain in the mid 18th Century.

The first porcelain factory in Derby, was established by Andrew Planche in 1750. His fine porcelain figures led him to become acquainted with William Duesbury, an ambitious and astute craftsman, who became the guiding light in a very successful partnership, producing china of the finest quality.

By 1770, William Duesbury had acquired the famous Chelsea China Works, (Bow, London) and its molds, which resulted in the gradual transfer of a number of extremely skilled craftsmen to Derby. It wasn't long before Duesbury could claim that his Derby factory was the 'second Dresden'.
In 1773, the opening of a London Showroom marked the beginning of the widespread recognition of the excellence of Derby porcelain. King George III recognized the uniqueness of Derby porcelain in 1775 when he granted the factory the rare honor of being able to incorporate a crown into the backstamp.

William Duesbury died in 1786, and was succeeded by his son, William Duesbury II, who entered into a partnership with Irishman, Michael Kean. The factory assembled the most talented group of ceramic artists such as BOREMAN (watercolor landscapes); ASKEW and BANFORD (figure painters); WITHERS, BILLINGSLEY and PEGG (flower painters). After W. Duesbury II died in 1797, the business continued for some years under the name of Duesbury & Kean.

In 1811 Robert Bloor bought the Derby factory and for the next few years the fortunes of the company were at a low ebb. The original works were closed in 1848 however, a small group of devoted artists and work people continued to make beautiful wares in the old tradition in Derby.
In 1877 the new Derby factory was established and once again its fame spread both at home and abroad. A celebrated artist of the period was M. Desire Leroy who established a studio dedicated to creating new standards in gilding and hand painting. His most senior and talented student, Mr. Albert Haddock, was senior gilder at Derby until 1966 and he in turn encouraged and trained the next generation of artists to maintain the matchless skills of Royal Crown Derby.

In 1890, Queen Victoria gave Crown Derby her seal of approval not only by appointing them “Manufacturers of Porcelain to Her Majesty”, but also by granting the title "The Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Company".

Today, in modern well planned premises Royal Crown Derby is made with the same meticulous care and dedicated artistry which Duesbury inspired over 200 years ago. The Company also runs a popular Visitor Center onsite, providing factory tours, demonstrations, a museum and factory shop.