The entry fee for an adult is £6 and that includes an audio guide, which was probably the best of its kind that I’ve encountered in a while. The museum is well laid out with plenty of porcelain on display, tracing the history of Royal Worcester and exploring the different techniques of porcelain creation and decoration that have developed over the years.
What follows is a selection of some of my favourite pieces and those which have a particular significance for Royal Worcester.
Worcester was, indeed still is, known for its teapots, which unlike those of a lot of their contemporaries did not crack when boiling water was poured into them – a not insignificant advantage!
To begin with Worcester relied heavily on Chinese designs, because they were familiar to the public, but gradually as their reputation increased they could branch out into other more European designs.
It wasn’t all just plates, vases and teapots though. This impressive sundial from 1766 was hand painted by Richard Holdship.
The story behind the below design was particularly amusing. Asked to paint a picture of a giraffe, an animal he had never seen, the artist came up with this:
The level of detail and work which has gone into each piece is remarkable. I particularly liked this bowl,
…which was worked on by a number of people including a designer, a handle maker, a child to paint the blue, a painter to apply colour and a gilder to complete the piece.
One of my favourite pieces in the museum, simply for the skill employed in making it, was this vase, made by George Owen. It was created for the Chicago Exhibition in 1893 and is one of the most expensive pieces of Worcester porcelain ever made. Each of the 5,000 plus holes was cut out by hand and even today no one is quite sure how it was achieved.
I really enjoyed exploring the museum and would recommend it if you find yourself in Worcester. The layout is well thought out and there are lots of interesting facts to discover. I was also impressed with how well lit the display cases were, allowing me to photograph most things I wanted to with ease.
You can find more photos at my flickr here.