This is a very fine set of two tall lidded vases made by Royal Worcester in 1901. The vases are in the cobalt or mazarine blue and raised gilt style with stunning orchid paintings signed by the famous painter Frank Roberts. 


Worcester was one of the first potteries in Britain to create items in porcelain. Alongside other great potteries such as Derby, Chelsea and Bow, they pioneered a new industry that would grow out to be huge in the following century. In later years Worcester went through many different ownerships and styles, and ultimately it became the Royal Worcester factory, continuing operations into the early 21st Century.


These vases are in the cobalt or mazarine blue and raised gilt style, which was popular in the Victorian late 19th Century. They have very fine and stunning paintings of naturalistic orchids, painted and signed by the famous painter Frank Roberts.


Roberts was mostly known for his exceptional warmly coloured fruit paintings, but he also did some superb flower paintings, particularly orchids like the ones on these vases. Roberts was known to be an introverted and religious person and had an iconic status among the Worcester painters. His paintings were used as samples for new apprentices to copy. Roberts started working at Royal Worcester in 1872 when he was only 25 years old, until shortly before his death in 1920. He was one of the painters allowed to sign his name to his works - you can see the signatures to the lower left side of the flower images.


The vases and covers have beautiful raised gilt decorations on the cobalt or mazarine blue ground; it took great skill to apply gilt this way and only the best gilders were able to decorate to this high standard. The vases are large; it was difficult to fire such large porcelain objects without any sagging or bursting, so these would have been very expensive items just because a significant number of the total vases fired would have failed in the kiln and never made it to the decoration stage.


The vases have the Royal Worcester mark under the foot with the year cipher for 1901, and the shape number 2010.


There is also mention of "leadless glaze" - this shows the final success of a long-fought campaign by women to outlaw the use of lead in porcelain glaze, which was extremely harmful to workers and killed in particular many women and girls whose work it was to dip the items into the glaze. After a long unsuccessful campaign by the workers, the campaign gained success when women of the upper class collectively started to boycott items produced with leaded glaze.


CONDITION REPORT Both vases and covers are in perfect antique condition without any damage, repairs, crazing or wear. 


Antique British porcelain is never perfect. Kilns were fired on coal in the 1800s, and this meant that china from that period can have some firing specks from flying particles. British makers were also known for their experimentation, and sometimes this resulted in technically imperfect results. Due to the shrinkage in the kiln, items can have small firing lines or develop crazing over time, which should not be seen as damage but as an imperfection of the maker's recipes, probably unknown at the time of making. Items have often been used for many years and can have normal signs of wear, and gilt can have signs of slight disintegration even if never handled. I will reflect any damage, repairs, obvious stress marks, crazing or heavy wear in the item description but some minor scratches, nicks, stains and gilt disintegration can be normal for vintage items and need to be taken into account.


There is widespread confusion on the internet about the difference between chips and nicks, or hairlines and cracks. I will reflect any damage as truthfully as I can, i.e. a nick is a tiny bit of damage smaller than 1mm and a chip is something you can easily see with the eye; a glazing line is a break in the glazing only; hairline is extremely tight and/or superficial and not picked up by the finger; and a crack is obvious both to the eye and the finger. Etcetera - I try to be as accurate as I can and please feel free to ask questions or request more detailed pictures!


DIMENSIONS 41cm (16") high incl. cover, 20cm (8") wide incl. handles and 16.5cm (6.5") deep.


SHIPPING I ship worldwide from the UK. I am happy to combine shipping charges on multiple items - please contact me to discuss. In principle I do not make a profit on shipping although for simplicity's sake I charge flat shipping fees. If the fee charged greatly exceeds the actual cost I will gladly refund you the difference - at the same time if it is slightly lower I will gladly make up the difference. Please note that due to the pandemic shipping costs have generally gone up steeply, and although I use only the most reliable couriers, there can sometimes be some delays.

Royal Worcester set of 2 vases, mazarine blue, orchids signed by F Roberts, 1901

  • Your item will be shipped after receipt of funds, unless agreed otherwise in writing. 


    We will ship your items within a maximum of 2 working days after payment (usually quicker). We cannot be held responsible for delivery times once the item has been shipped as this is at the shipper's discretion and, in case of international delivery, can be subject to customs delays, weather, holidays and/or political instability.


    If your delivery failed to appear or was damaged in transit, please let us know as soon as possible and, in case of damage, provide us with pictures of the damaged item and/or packaging. Cut off dates for this are 14 days after shipping, or 2 days after a damaged delivery. We will need to comply with shippers' regulations in order to follow up the issue, but it is vital that you let us know what is wrong as soon as possible. We will do anything we can to follow up faulty deliveries but cannot be held responsible if we have not been notified within the required time period. 


    We always aim to have happy customers so if you have an issue with or questions about your item, please contact us and we will do anything we can to resolve the issue with you! 

  • Cancellations can only be accepted before the item has been shipped. Once an item has been shipped, the transaction cannot be cancelled anymore.

    Returns need to be requested within 2 days of receipt of the item and completed within 14 days from the date they have been agreed in writing.

    If you want to return an item because you changed your mind, you will be responsible for the return shipping. For international deliveries, this will need to be a fully tracked shipping mode. The item is expected to be received back in the same state it was sent - any damage due to insufficient packaging will be your responsibility. We will only pay for return shipping if we have mutually agreed that the item did not satisfy your expectations. A refund will be made immediately after receipt of the item.

    You are subject to the EU Consumers Rights Act, which protects your rights buying over the internet.


    We always aim to have happy customers so if you have an issue with or questions about your item, please contact us and we will do anything we can to resolve the issue with you! 

Covid-19 - we are open for business! 

We can ship normally to most destinations, but some are currently closed.

For the time being we have had to raise shipping prices as shippers are now charging more.

As we are living under lock down and can't always reach our stock, lead times will be a little longer than usual.

For now, please bear with us as we do our best to get your parcels to you as quickly as we can! 

If needed we are happy to hold your parcel for you until the end of the pandemic.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss and thank you for your business - it is a vital support for our business! 🙏

© 2020 by Gentle Rattle of China - copyright on all images and text

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