Q: I have inherited an antique wash bowl and pitcher set. The pieces have a matching floral blue transfer pattern. The bowl is marked “Porcelain Royale, Pitcairns Limited, Tunstall England.” The pitcher has a different mark: “Old Hall, England, E’Ware.” Please explain the difference in the marks. How old is the set and what is it worth?
A: Your bowl and pitcher were both made by pottery companies that operated in the famous Staffordshire district of northern England. The bowl was made in the town of Tunstall by Pitcairns Ltd., which was in business from 1895 to 1901. The pitcher was made at Old Hall Pottery in Hanley, a town not far from Tunstall. The company that operated Old Hall Pottery was called “Old Hall Earthenware Co.” from 1861 to 1886, then “Old Hall Porcelain Works” from 1886 to 1902. But even after the company’s name changed, it continued to make earthenware. It is unusual but not surprising that your bowl and pitcher were made by two different companies. Many potteries used the same transferware patterns and their items were sold in the same shops. A set like yours auctioned for $30 a couple of years ago.