learn more about royal albert bone china thimbles
I have often been asked to do a thimble topic on Royal Albert bone china thimbles. There are a couple of reasons why it has taken me so long to research this topic. Firstly, I didn't think I owned enough Royal Albert thimbles to undertake this subject! I was wrong - there is a very small selection of them!!
There is very little available about English Royal Albert bone china and their production of thimbles. According to the accompanying leaflets for the TCC thimbles, the company was founded in 1896 by Thomas Wild, in Longton, in the English Potteries. They became part of the Royal Doulton group in 1964. The part of the name 'Albert' is named from Albert, the Prince who was to become George VI. Royal Albert was part of the Wedgwood group. It was sad news indeed to read that in the first week of 2009 the Waterford-Wedgwood group was placed into liquidation. This group included Royal Doulton, Royal Albert and Rosenthal. So much by all these brands is already being made off shore.
In the 1980s thimbles were produced by Royal Albert. They are identical in shape to those made by Royal Doulton in the 1980s: the same thimble moulds were used. They are taller than most other English bone china thimbles and the apex is flat - but once one knows these characteristics, their shape is quite distinctive. It is only in recent times that a smaller thimble, with a more rounded apex, has appeared and this is only found for the Old Country Roses design! Some of these smaller thimbles were made in England and some in Indonesia - see the range of backstamps - to unravel all this!
I don't know whether Royal Albert were still producing thimbles when the liquidation was announced in January 2009. Old Country Roses may have been the only thimbles still in production. There is a word of caution on the manufacture of Royal Albert tho - Royal Albert has been manufactured in Indonesia since 2002 - look for the items marked 'Made in England' to be sure you are getting some of the original RA thimbles!! In 2011 Royal Albert thimbles have begun to appear with a 1962 backstamp - they are made in China, so they do not have the lettering 'Made in England'.
The most famous and widely available design of Royal Albert dinner services and tea sets is Old Country Roses - it was also issued later thru Thimble Collectors Club. The design was first introduced as a pattern on general items by RA - in 1962 - created by Harold Holdcraft.
This brings me to my second reluctance to looking into Royal Albert thimbles - I knew I'd be entering a minefield as Royal Albert have a HUGE range of backstamps - with different ones used on identical thimbles!! I have attempted to tackle this but I know I have only just touched on the Royal Albert backstamp "problem" for thimble collectors. I know from some of my other topics that many collectors take great note of differences amongst backstamps - and I hope you'll be the first to share your knowledge if you own a specific thimble, where I haven't illustrated the backstamp.
I have thus tackled this topic slightly differently from my other topics. I have tried to include all the differing backstamps at the beginning and referenced this to as many of the thimbles that I am able. Not only do the backstamp colours change, the script changes and sometimes the lettering 'bone china' is missing. The backstamp can include "England" or "Made in England"; some have neither. Does it matter? I have supplied them for those who do care! Please let me know of others I have missed.
For a change, as this is a small topic and space allows, I would like to be able to share the verso side of each thimble [except where both sides are identical - and this will be included in the description]. This way no-one can be fooled into buying the same thimble from different views!! Please share photos of the backs of thimbles where they are missing - many thanks!
I understand that one of the problems with the naming of Royal Albert thimbles is that those made for the English market, are unnamed in the thimbles but those made for the overseas' markets, the designs are named in the thimbles. Do you know if this is correct? This may probably be the answer as to why there are so many differing RA backstamps?
Royal Albert didn't issue many commemoratives: with the last issue known being made in 1986! The Wind in the Willows is the only set that is dated - the date forms part of the backstamp.
Their greatest output are sets of thimbles and again following from the popularity of their tea services, the Flowers of the Month set of 12 was widely collected. This set has the month lettered above the flowers. There is a second less well-known Flowers of the Month set, where the month is named below the flower. A more recent set of 12 floral designs has familiar but not identical designs from earlier issues. They are not marked with the names inside the thimbles.
Click on the following link to "Learn more about..."
This listing of Royal Albert thimbles does not purport to be complete or accurate in all aspects.
Rather it invites comment and contribution to add to our knowledge of these collectable thimbles and boxes .
My thanks to the contributors.
Linda Bennett | Riky Breedveld | Sue Burt | Pam Chappell | Kaylene Harris | Linda Heggs | Margaret Hickling | Doreen Lilley-Pricklepin | Elaine Pollard | Linda Samaripa
Kellie Schultz | Marina Shcherbatyuk | Karen Stoner | Emily Szmul | Audrey Turner | Hans-Ulrich Vogel | Rosalie Webb | Mave Wiskin
© Sue Gowan
DO YOU KNOW ANY MORE DETAILS ABOUT ROYAL ALBERT THIMBLES?
YOU MAY KNOW THE MISSING NAMES, ESPECIALLY OF THE FLOWERS, OR KNOW OF OTHER ROYAL ALBERT THIMBLES NOT ON THIS LIST.
I AM ESPECIALLY LOOKING FOR MISSING BACKSTAMPS, OR THE VERSO VIEWS THAT ARE MISSING!!
EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org TO SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE.