By Katie Farmand
Photography by Kamin Hoyle Williams
To commemorate 100 years of fine craftsmanship, The Royal Doulton Company has released 10 of its most timeless patterns from the Royal Albert Collection. Join us as we hopscotch through a century of history and peek into the past with these timeless patterns.
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1900 | Regency Blue
In 1901, Edward VII succeeded Queen Victoria after her reign of nearly 64 years, signaling the end of Victorian times and the beginning of the Edwardian era. Though the official Regency Period in the United Kingdom ended before the turn of the 20th century, many regal design influences carried on. The deep cobalt blue, rich maroon, and metallic gold of the Regency Blue pattern highlight the formality and stateliness of the time.
1910 | Duchess
When King Edward VII passed away in 1910, George V came to the throne. Later in the same decade, World War I began. The early 1900s remained very traditional and quite reserved, and the Duchess pattern reflects this. Similar to the Regency Blue pattern, it has a glossy black border accented with small yellow roses and sweet purple violets. It is elegant yet simple and quite modest.
1920 | Spring Meadow
The end of World War I brought about a more carefree and extravagant time in British history. The discovery of King Tut’s tomb added an air of excitement and enigma about the treasures buried within. The 1920s were more positive, and the décor of the decade was often based on pastels and brighter colors. Spring Meadow embodies the soft-hued design trends of the day. Pretty wildflowers on a cream background make this pattern charming and cheerful.
1930 | Polka Rose
Britain’s royalty changed in 1936, bringing George VI to the throne, along with his bride, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who became Queen Elizabeth. The king and queen gracefully led Britain through the beginning of World War II in the late 1930s and kept morale high. The soft, delicate Polka Rose pattern eloquently demonstrates the art deco style of the mid-1930s, while sweet polka dots and a single rose at the center of the dessert plate speak of the quiet charm of the time.
1940 | English Chintz
The continuing war brought historic battles and hardships for the United Kingdom, but Prime Minister Winston Churchill successfully led Britain to victory and eventually helped bring about the end of the war. Though a dark time in British history, the design themes of the 1940s were often quite ornamental. The English Chintz pattern uses intricate and elaborate floral chintz, which was widely popular in the 1940s.
1950 | Festival
Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne in 1952 at the tender age of 25. Because television had become so popular, her coronation was seen around the world. The 1950s marked a time of rebuilding in postwar Britain. Morale was high, and the colors typical of 1950s-style design reflected the positivity of the decade. Bright pink, butter yellow, and mint green were popular, but bold aquamarine was the most stylish. The Festival pattern makes lovely use of the hue with accents of pretty harebells and puffy dandelions.
1960 | Golden Roses
The 1960s were defined by changes in society. Standards grew less strict, and fashion became livelier. Beatlemania swept the United Kingdom and then the world, and the United States sent the first man to the moon. Golden Roses, introduced in 1962, became one of Royal Albert’s best-loved patterns. The bold bubblegum pink background and whimsical metallic gold roses are just as punchy as the decade itself.
1970 | Poppy
The changes of the 1960s continued and grew into the easygoing 1970s. Technology was improving seemingly on a daily basis, and society’s ideals were modernizing as well, as evidenced in the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979—the country’s first female prime minister. The loose, less-formal style of the Poppy pattern beautifully illustrates the mood of the 1970s, as does the orange-red and green color palette.
1980 | Holyrood
On a warm day in July 1981, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer wed at London’s Saint Paul’s Cathedral. A global audience of 750 million people watched, transfixed, as the fairy-tale wedding took place. The 1980s marked a time of wealth and power, and the popular patterns of the time were formal and richly hued. Holyrood is no exception with its deep burgundy border and glinting gold detail.
1990 | Hartington Lane
The age of the Internet began in the early 1990s, and the most notable achievement of the period was Briton Sir Tim Berners-Lees invention of the World Wide Web. Hartington Lane combines two designs from the 1990s—Lilac Lane and Hartington—with lovely shades of purple, from pale lavender to majestic plum.