We have been coming to the UK now for over 6 years and each time we have agreed that we must visit the Royal Crown Derby Porcelain factory. Sounds a bit boring so we managed to skip it time and time again. At this time of the year when very little is open and the weather is cold, we could not escape so on a grey day we tripped over to Derby and the Royal Crown Derby Museum and factory for the tour. The factory is in the inner suburbs of Derby.
“The Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Company is an oldest or second oldest remaining English porcelain manufacturer, based in Derby, England (disputed by Royal Worcester 1751 year of establishment). The company, particularly known for its high-quality bone china, has produced tableware and ornamental items since approximately 1750. It was known as ‘Derby Porcelain’ until 1773, when it became ‘Crown Derby’, the ‘Royal’ being added in 1890. The factory closed down in the past under Royal Doulton ownership, but production was revived under the renewed ownership of Hugh Gibson and Pearson family.” (Wikipedia)
Upon arriving at a plain looking factory we entered into a reception/ Museum. Whilst waiting for the tour to begin we looked around the Museum and as I did not see the sign prohibiting photography I took these shots, so you are very lucky to see this lovely display of porcelain. First thing I spotted was the Zepplin marked service which is the contents of the furnace when the factory was hit by a bomb dropped by a Zepplin in WW1 (there are very few of the pieces still remaining and if you see a piece marked with the Zepplin then it is very rare) Then there is the settings for the SS Olympic and SS Titanic. RCD made the settings and of course had to replace the settings for the Titanic. There are also copies of specific orders for the Royal family, middle-eastern potentates and American millionaires.
In the centre of the museum is a very special piece which was the last photo I snapped before I was informed about the prohibition. We toured the factory and saw everything from the throwing of the clay to the hand painting of special pieces. We even learnt how to distinguish seconds from first pieces. Certainly interesting and worth doing. We then visited the visited the general museum with pieces from 1750 through to the present. It included a special exhibition from a private collector which basically filled a room 15m x 7m. Then as we left there was a special exhibition of vases. So I took some special photos of these very precious vases.
As usual we ended up in the gift shop and noticed that there was a special on certain firsts but just as we started selecting our pieces this other chap started taking the pieces off the table by the armful. It turned out that he is a retailer who grabs all these things for his shop. We got away with our few pieces before he swooped.