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Crown Ducal - Circa 1929

Updated: Jul 18, 2023


Garden Scene

REG NO 749657 – October 1929

I recently stumbled upon a beautiful set of Crown Ducal China and had to, of course, add it to my Obsessed china collection.

There were over 20 individual pieces including teacups, soup tureen, creamer, salad plates and dinner plates in various degrees of wear and conditions. The teacups showed a bit of damage and saucers were not included, which was unfortunate.

Now personally I am not a huge fan of pictorial print patterns, but a set that has made it 94 years is truly impressive and worthy of admiration.

As I carefully looked them over to access condition, I realized that although these were all of the same Gainsborough pattern sharing Reg. number 749657, each one looked a bit different. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the flowers are slightly different from each other, the colors are also slightly different.

Founded in 1915 by Albert G Richardson in Stoke-on-Trent, England, I’m quite amazed at how advanced they were in their expansion strategy. They advertised heavily, used every sort of event possible to gain exposure, and most notably, created patterns to appeal to current popular trends.

Though there are some other great designs that are more to my taste, Gainsborough was quite successful, being sold worldwide and a lot of archived advertising is available, reaching as far out as New Zealand!

Most likely the Gainsborough collection was created by W.B. Johnson who was the art director at the time, though it is Charlotte Rhead, who joined Richardson in 1932 and her designs that are most coveted by collectors. Crown Ducal continued to produce until 1974 when the business was sold to Enoch Wedgwood and subsequently closed.

There were many different types of design within the Gainsborough collection. I’ve seen some lovely floral patterns for sale. Not much evidence or research is available to accurately date the China, except it is known that Crown Ducal stamped their pieces with a registration number and these numbers were assigned sequentially, so Reg. 749657 can be dated back to October 1929 based on the number and the style of the backstamp.

More information on this can be found here

The set of Gainsborough 749657 that I acquired notably has its charm. From the bit of information I could find it seems this probably belonged to a pattern series named “Rural England,” and by looking at it I think we can see why.

Some pieces are in quite admirable condition, but there are some pieces, especially the cups, where you can see a lot of crazing and yellowing.

The tureen with its lid is especially attractive with a raised, embossed pattern. The lid is quite intricate and if you didn’t place it side by side, you would almost not realize that they belong to the same pattern.

What intrigues and troubles me are the slight differences in color and the pattern. If this was mass produced there shouldn’t be as many visible differences. So was this maybe part of a failed batch, a hand painted batch, or even a counterfeit?

If you know more please share!

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