Derby / Bloor Derby / Royal Crown Derby

Buyers Guide to Royal Crown Derby

When beginning a collection of this type you may wish to focus on a particular time frame; you can identify the time frame by studying the date of the collection and the mark of the creator.


(These trade marks run in date order from left to right and top to bottom - the first image being typical of the first Royal Crown Derby pieces produced, and the last of later pieces)


Expert Advice

1. Quality

Lord Nelson Antique Centre suggests that you do not buy second quality if you can avoid it, if you are able to try to find Royal Crown Derby pieces with no restoration. Where possible purchase the best you can afford, this will increase the enjoyment of the piece, also try to purchase rare items if you want them to yield more wealth.

2. The Company

The manufacturing company is an important consideration when purchasing Royal Crown Derby porcelain; there are a number of companies in the history, the first of which was on Nottingham Road. Nottingham Road was the largest china maker until it closed its doors in 1848. The makers from Nottingham Road relocated to King Street. The History of the company is crucial to your purchase. The item could have been manufactured in a number of places by a number of makers, it may have been made under Duesbury of Nottingham Road, or Robert Bloor of Nottingham Road, or King Street, or Royal Crown Derby Ltd.

3. The Derby Mark on the porcelain

There are a number of marks to be found on Royal Crown Derby, a total of ten on Royal Crown Derby figurines. It is possible to find very specific pieces because each maker had their own mark. It is important to note that marks are rarely found before 1770.

4. Personal Budget

These treasured collectables can be vastly expensive or fairly affordable, there are pieces for all budgets and thousands to choose from. The price will be determined largely on how rare the piece is and its condition.

5. Collecting versus Selling

Always buy what you like; building a collection of Royal Crown Derby can be a pleasurable experience, something that grows throughout the years. If you are purely buying with the view to sell it is important to ensure that the piece will increase in value in the future.


Interior Designer Advice

Our in house interior designer, Lizzie Greenaway, below discusses the merits of purchasing Royal Crown Derby for your home.

1. The Art Movement

If you are collecting Royal Crown Derby figurines you can focus on specific art movements. If your interior has echoes of Art Nouveau, purchase an item from this period, thus adding to the feel and style of your interior and fitting in seamlessly with your current interior design choice.

2. Imari Porcelain

Influenced by Japanese art and Korean colour themes these pieces are perfect for an oriental themed interior. Their vibrant colour ways and intricate paintings are delightful, most of the colour ways of this type of porcelain are blue, gold and burnt orange. A piece of Imari porcelain or a set would make for a great display in a room of this theme. Imari porcelain was manufactured in the early 19th century.

3. Dine in Style

Serving dinner guests with antique Royal Crown Derby fine bone china makes for an exquisite dining experience, it can be passed down through generations. The level of craftsmanship and design means collections are very aesthetically pleasing and can become part of the workings of the household on special occasions.

4. Seasonal Accessories

Royal Crown Derby has manufactured holiday-themed collections, as well as notable events and occasions. It is always nice to have a special collection to bring out and display over the festive season. You can purchase Christmas plates to place in a Dresser or hang on the wall over the celebrations.

5. Best of British

Royal Crown Derby is an example of brilliant British craftsmanship and design, its manufacturing history is one of success and a compelling story of changed ownership and innovation; it is the perfect collection to add to your home as a talking point, a element of the best of British design.


Extra Considerations when purchasing Royal Crown Derby


You can determine the authenticity of Royal Crown Derby from the backstamp on each item, therefore avoiding replicas. Items made after 1938 are marked with Roman numerals, so items before this will generally be considered antique.

The condition of the items are a consideration, porcelain is a delicate material and can easily damage and chip over time. Try to avoid pieces that are scuffed, chipped, cracked or broken where possible, if the glaze is in tact it will also make a considerable difference to the appeal of the piece.

Environmentally Friendly

Ultimately reusing and recycling any ceramics is better for the environment than the impact of manufacturing new pieces for the market. Ceramic material itself is not necessarily the most eco-friendly material due to the amount of energy used in the production, however antique ceramics tend to counteract this argument, as the energy has already been expended. There is no need for any future impact upon the environment; tableware can also be enjoyed for years to come due to its durable nature.

Valuing Royal Crown Derby

The value of Royal Crown Derby will vary greatly; it will depend largely on the manufacturer, style, condition and date. There are rare pieces to purchase that will obviously yield a higher price. The company has a complex 300-year-old history and researching this will help you understand the present market. Figurines are some of the most collectable of Royal Crown Derby items, and can be highly coveted for collectors.


Porcelain is an extremely delicate and fragile material and therefore when you are transporting your Royal Crown Derby piece, whether it is a vase, figurine or tableware you need to ensure it is packed securely and safely. It is always best to approach with caution; it is better to cover it in too much protective packaging if in doubt. Firstly wrap the item with crepe paper, then newspaper, then bubble wrap, if there are any elements protruding make sure to protect them adequately too. You may wish to purchase insurance for your Royal Crown Derby items in case they are damaged in transit.


There are a number of ways to care for your ceramics, firstly avoid handling them in careless manner, you want to avoid unnecessary damage. If you are worried about scratching a particular piece, be sure to remove your jewellery before you handle it, if in doubt you can also wear protective gloves before handling the item. Try to avoid polishing or cleaning the items roughly, they can be delicate and enamels may flake or you may exacerbate an underlying flaw. When cleaning areas that have been restored also be aware that the area may be more sensitive than the rest of the item.


Image credits:

First Image:
Second Image (left):
Second Image (centre):
Second Image (right):
Third Image (left):
Third Image (right):