Geschiedenis van het Booths Real Old Willow servies

History of the Booths Real Old Willow tableware

Years ago I was in a vintage shop where I saw a cup and saucer made of beautiful blue porcelain in an antique cupboard. I knew immediately that I saw something special. It was from the British brand Booths Real Old Willow. The refined image of the famous Willow pattern was beautifully displayed and finished with hand-painted gold edges.

I had heard of this brand before but never seen it in the Netherlands. This sparked my fascination with this brand and the Willow pattern in particular.

Booths Real Old Willow pattern

What is the story of the Willow pattern?

The 18th century Chinese Willow pattern is so called because of the willow tree that is depicted centrally in the scene. The performance is derived from several Japanese and Chinese fairy tales. The best known is the Japanese fairy tale: The green willow.

Story Old Willow pattern

The story goes like this: long ago there was an important Chinese administrative official (mandarin) for the Chinese empire. He had a beautiful daughter, Koong-Se . Koong-Se fell in love with her father's bookkeeper assistant, Chang . Her father became furious because she was of a higher rank than Chang. He fired his assistant bookkeeper and built a high wall around his house to keep the loving couple apart.

Willow pattern story

He found a more suitable marriage partner for his daughter, a duke, and planned a wedding date. The two were going to get married on the first day of the willow blossom. The Duke arrived by boat carrying a chest of jewels for his new bride.
The night before the wedding, Chang sneaked inside the house dressed as a servant. He took Koong-Se with him, including the box of jewels, and they fled and got into the Duke's boat. Her father came running after them in anger, with a whip in his hand. The two managed to escape and sailed to an island where they lived happily together for many years.

Story Willow pattern

Unfortunately, the duke discovered their hiding place, sent soldiers after them and murdered the two. The gods were so dismayed by this that they turned the two into turtledoves .


How did the Willow pattern become famous?

In the 18th century there was a great interest in Asian art in Europe. Mainly porcelain and especially blue porcelain was extremely popular. The pattern was probably designed for the British brand Spode in 1780, after which it became famous and was adopted by several porcelain makers.

At the end of the 19th century, the British brand Booths started making a new series of porcelain with the well-known Willow pattern. This series: Real Old Willow was marketed from the beginning of the 20th century. The series was produced until 1999 and has many variations that are sometimes hardly noticeable but say a lot about the period in which it was made.

How do you recognize the period of production of Booths Real Old Willow?

The series has approximately four time periods in which it was produced. Each period has its own characteristics.

Logo Booths Real Old Willow

Between 1906-1921 the brand's emblem, which was printed on the bottom, looked like this.

Booths Real Old Willow logo 1
The Booths brand was at the top and in the middle it said only England instead of made in England.
After 1921 until about 1944 the logo looked like this:
Booths Real Old Willow logo 2
The words 'Made in' were added. This way we can recognize the first two production periods.
From 1944 onwards the logo started to take a different shape and looked like this:
Booths Real Old Willow logo 3
While the editions before 1944 carried the serial number 9072, the serial number A8025 was used from 1944 onwards. This edition was produced until 1981.
After 1981, the series took on a completely new form with the following logo:
Booths Real Old Willow logo 4
The brand came under the ownership of Royal Doulton, which retained the Willow pattern but with a new emblem.

Gold edge

We can recognize the period in which it was made not only from the logo. We can also tell approximately when the item was produced by the use of gold paint.
Before the Second World War, the pattern was provided with an outer golden edge and a gold decorative edge as shown in the photo below:
Booths Real Old Willow gold edge
These are the most valuable products in the series today.
From 1939 to 1944, during the Second World War, there was a gold shortage and gold was no longer used to decorate the edges. Instead, the edges were painted brown. An item with a completely brown edge therefore dates from this time. An example is the photo below:
Booths Real Old Willow brown border
After the war, people could bring their purchased porcelain to the factory to have a gold edging painted on it. On some items it is clearly visible that this was sometimes done sloppily because the gold edge did not always fully cover the brown edge. A good example is the photo below:
Booths Real Old Willow gold edge
After the war, the brown decorative edge was retained, but two gold edges were added around it, including a gold outer edge.
Booths Real Old Willow gold edge half

Rent Booths Real Old Willow tableware

At De Wereld van Kant you can rent this special tableware for your High Tea, brunch, lunch, dinner or party. In the collection we have many different items such as cups and saucers, teapots, plates, serving dishes and more.
View the Booths Real Old Willow tableware collection here .
View the coffee and tea collection from Booths Real Old Willow here .
Back to blog