Later English China Pottery

Wedgwood china

Wedgwood china

Not only was the English china pottery of the 19th century colorful and decorative, but it can also often provide a fascinating visual record of the major events and personalities of the Victorian age.

Prices range from English China pottery dinner services worth thousands to simple English China pottery tiles that sell for around  30 GBP

Firms like Pratt & Co perfected color transfer printing from c.1840, and pot lids, boxes, plates, and other wares were decorated with images of the royal family, the Crimean War, and the Great Exhibition.

Royal events such as Queen Victoria’s wedding, the coronation, and jubilees inspired a huge number of specially decorated pottery  china wares. Many of these were originally sold for a few shillings but are now avidly sought after.

Other highly popular collectibles from this period include Staffordshire figures, blue-and-white transfer printed wares, Wemyss ware, and ironstone. If all these are too expensive, look out for 19th-century tiles – you can still find Victorian printed versions for 20 to 50 GBP.


Printed blue-and-white pottery

Blue and white plates

Blue and white plates

Value depends on condition and pattern: These three meat plates are slightly damaged and moderately priced between 200 and 400 GBP each. Less sought-after patterns start at around 120; the most valuable may be 2,500 or more.



Dinner services

Mason's ironstone dinner service

Mason’s Ironstone Dinner service

This Mason’s ironstone dinner service is made of a heavy earthenware substance first patented in 1813. It’s usually easy to identify wares made by this factory as they’re nearly always marked.

The details of these marks changed over time: if the word “improved” appears, it means the piece was made after c.1840. Large dinner services are especially sought after and valuable. Worth 4,000 to 6,000 GBP



Colored objects, such as the 1780s molded Jasperware vase pictured at the top of the page, were made by dipping the object into slip (diluted clay). These wares were also made throughout the 19th century and later. However, the blue used in the 19th century tend to be darker, while 20th-century copies are lesser quality. Worth 500 to 800.

Wemyss ware

English China Pottery

Wemyss ware pig

Wemyss pigs such as this were made in Fife, Scotland, from 1880. There’s also a wide range of Wemyss mugs, vases, jugs, and jam pots, all of which have recently risen in value. This pig is probably worth more than 800 GBP.

What to look for:

good-quality painting
tablewares with red borders – these are early
figurative subjects – especially cockerels, cats, bees, and pigs
large pieces

Staffordshire figures

Colorful creamware and pearlware figures, such as this spaniel, were produced on a huge scale in the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century.

Some were made in Scotland and Wales, but the majority came from the Staffordshire potteries, so all examples of English china pottery are known as Staffordshire figures. Nearly all examples are unmarked, so each style should be carefully examined.

Painting—The detailed painting of the dog’s face is a sign of quality and indicates an early date. Later figures are painted more simply.

Value – subject matter and rarity affect the price; figures of animals and royal, political, and military subjects are particularly desirable. The spaniel would be worth around 1,200 GBP.

Less valuable Staffordshire figures were reproduced throughout the 20th century, often from the same moulds as genuine Victorian pieces. Even though genuine figures are often highly individual, these copies can be identified in several key ways:


  • crisp modeling
  • detailed painting
  • colorful decoration
  • finger marks inside – from press molding
  • heavy thick walls
  • erratic, widely spaced crackling in glaze
  • soft gilding
  • kiln grit and glaze on the foot

Copy or fake:

  • soft definition
  • little detail
  • little colour
  • smooth inside – from slip-casting
  • thin, fragile walls
  • regular, exaggerated crackling in the glaze
  • bright gilding
  • glaze wiped from foot