Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Company is a porcelain manufacturing company located in the British city of Derby. Known for its high-quality bone china, produces tableware since the mid-1750s
The history of the company began with the fact that the Huguenot Andrew Planche founded the production of bone china. He made small figures of animals and birds. The high quality of the works led to an acquaintance with William Duesbury (William Duesbury; the Victoria and Albert Museum holds the contract Articles of Agreement between John Heath of Derby, in the County of Derby, Gentleman, Andrew Planche of ye same Place, China Maker and Wm. Duesbury of Longton, in ye County of Stafford, Enameller, dating from 1756), who by 1770 had bought the famous Chelsea China Works and the Bow moulds company and gradually transferred the craftsmen from there to Derby (for example, in 1769 the best sculptor of that time John Bacon came to the factory; in 1773 The year at the London Showroom began the widespread recognition of the works of the Derby Porcelain company.
In 1775, George III allowed his crown to be added to the factory's seal, which was evidence of the recognition of quality. In 1890, Queen Victoria did the same, she also granted the company the name Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Company. It is also worth noting that Queen Elizabeth visited the factory on June 27, 1949.
In 1776, the Derby factory flourished, producing porcelain figures and vases of high quality; Dewsbury acquired the famous Bow factory to improve the reputation of his business. Having bought this plant, he again adopted the best experience and craftsmen with their transfer to production in Derby. During this period, Benjamin Valiami used the factory's products to make his watches.
After the death of William Dewsbury, his son, William Dewsbury II, set out to make Derby China Works the best in Europe. The works of 1786-95 are still of particular interest to collectors. In 1797, at the age of 34, he died (his widow married his partner, the Irishman Michael Kean, Michael Kean); after that, some of the craftsmen left for other factories, which led to a temporary deterioration of affairs, until 1811, when Robert Bloor came to the factory management. The works of this period are decorated in the Japanese (imari) style. In 1877, a new factory was opened, and a period of growth and diversification that continues to this day began (for example, Indian and Persian styles were introduced into the work).
The company continued to prosper even during the First World War, and in 1935 acquired the King Street factory.
In the midst of the depression of 1938, H. T. Robinson developed a strategic plan with the later proved correct expectation that the company's products would be in demand as export products. The plan included the purchase of thirty houses, the creation of training programs to expand the ranks of skilled labor (it is worth noting that in the war and post-war period, many factory pensioners returned to their jobs, thus transferring experience to younger employees) and, above all, the improvement of the production program.
In 1964, the company was acquired by S.Pearson and Son and became part of the Allied English Potteries group. Pearson also bought the Royal Doulton porcelain company. In 1981, the company made five paperweights for the "treasure house" of Chatsworth House, the residence of the Dukes of Devonshire.
In 2000, Hugh Gibson, a member of the Pearson family and former director of Royal Doulton, bought out Royal Crown Derby, which became an independent company.
The products of the Royal Crown Derby company are exhibited in a number of museums, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Derby Museum and Art Gallery.
The development of porcelain production in Derby is associated with the name of the largest manufacturer of English porcelain, William Duisbury (1725-1786). He was a talented decorative artist and initially engaged in painting white ceramics in his studio in London, which was sent to him from factories from small workshops in Chelsea, Bow, Derby and Longton Hall. Around 1756 Duisbury joined a company that included John Heath, a merchant from Derby, and manufacturer Andrew Planch. The company established a factory in Derby, which has already been operating at full capacity since 1750. Duisbury, in addition to artistic talent, had business acumen. The factory in Derby developed very quickly, and the company bought competitive productions in Chelsea (1770) and Bow (1776). Duisbury soon got rid of his partners and from 1779 became the sole owner of this largest English manufactory at that time.
After his death in 1786, the manufactory in Derby passed to his son William Duisbury, Jr. (1763-1796). Initially, the Derby products were marked with the letter "D". A little later, King George III allowed the stamp to be supplemented with a crown. At first, there was a strong influence of the Meissen factory, and its samples were often copied. Derby did not hide this similarity and even advertised its factory as the "second Dresden". The purpose of the "Derby" was to oust Meissen products from English markets. It was possible to realize this thanks to skillful imitation and at the same time a much lower price. The products of the "Derby" of those years - both dishes and figurines - were at a much higher artistic level than in Chelsea and Bow. The porcelain mass had a lime structure, and the glaze had a bluish hue, far from the snow-white products of continental factories. After 1760, the Derby designers broke out of their servile dependence on Meissen and began to draw figures and groups based on engravings from the works of Watteau and Boucher. To revitalize and enrich the range of products, Duisbury took models and forms from the purchased factories in Chelsea and Bow, and liquidated the factories themselves. During this period, the factory in the Wilds reached a high level of quality of its products and, undoubtedly, belonged to the advanced English factories. This was facilitated by the artists who worked there - William Billingsley (1758-1828), who was one of the most talented English decorators of that time and worked in Derby in 1775-1796, as well as the famous fashion designer John James Spangler. Since 1770, the features of the Sevres style have become noticeable in the products of "Derby". At the same time, the rococo style disappeared and the features of classicism appeared more and more in the compositions. Since 1773 in Derby, biscuit figurines were made in large quantities in the manner of Sevres. At that time, biscuits were not produced by any English factory. The period of prosperity of the factory continued after the death of William Duisbury Jr., when the factory was managed by Michael Keen, a miniature painter, and then Robert Blore. Fashionable in the first half
XIX century. portrait miniatures, landscapes and still lifes made on the products of "Derby" according to modern paintings were of the highest level. William Corden belonged to the outstanding miniaturists. After Blore's death in 1847, the factory went through a period of crisis, and it was even threatened with closure. In addition, another factory called the Derby Crown Porcelain Company appeared in Derby, which became a strong competitor for the impoverished old factory. Fortunately, the heirs of Blore turned out to be enterprising specialists who were able to withstand the competition. Depending on the names of the owners, the labeling of products often changed: "Locker & Co" (1849), "Stevenson & Sharpe" (1859), "Stevenson, Sharpe & Co" (1880), then "Hancock & Co". In 1935, both local factories merged, and the new company has since become known as "Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Co" (Royal Derby Porcelain Company). The range of products is very wide: tea and coffee sets, breakfast and lunch sets, vases and figurines. By their technical qualities, the products belong to the highest class in the world.