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Booths Real Old Willow

This is the most widely collected of all Booths patterns, and was produced for most of the 20th century, finally coming to an end in 1999.

See the bottom of this page for information on the different versions of Real Old Willow, their DATING, and the pattern numbers 9072 and A8025.

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Plates, bowls, serving dishes

In various shapes and sizes

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Tea and coffee ware

Cups of various shapes and sizes, tea and coffee pots, sugar bowls, etc.

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Other items

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The Different Varieties of Real Old Willow


Gilding on the rim and the inner band entirely in gold. This is the most highly prized by collectors.


No gilding on the rim, inner band in brown only. Apparently the brown was introduced around the time of the 1939-46 War as gold was in short supply.


Gold and brown

Gold on the rim but the central portion of the inner band is brown, flanked by two gold bands.

We believe this was produced by adding gilding to the brown version - in the photo you can clearly see that on this example the gold band does not accurately mask the brown below.

Furthermore there exist two distinct patterns, the more widespread A8025 and the earlier (and harder to find) 9072 pattern, which can be recognised easily by the more old-fashioned lettering in the mark (see examples below).

For more information on shapes, a valuation guide and a list of all the different items known, please see William Parkin's The Earthenwares of Booths 1864-1948 (A Collector's Guide), ISBN: 0 9530976 0 9.

A Note on the Dating of 9072 and A8025

Dating of the two REAL OLD WILLOW patterns is controversial. Parkin follows the information given in Geoffrey Godden's Encyclopedia of British Pottery & Porcelain Marks, which implies the following dates for Booths china:

Godden's (incorrect) dating for Real Old Willow


"Crown" mark




"Crown" mark


The correct dating is shown below


"Book" mark




Research undertaken by Conrad Biernacki published in the April 1984 issue of Willow Transfer Quarterly backs up the above chronology. Note the following:

  • MADE IN ENGLAND was added to the "Crown" mark after the First World War.

  • 9072 and A8025 do NOT overlap - A8025 superceded 9072 around 1944. According to Mr Biernacki, the numbering system beginning with an "A" was only begun in 1944.

  • Far from pre-dating 1930 (as would be inferred from consulting "Godden"), items with the "Book" backstamp can actually date from as late as 1981. This information can also be applied to other patterns with this mark such as Pompadour, Friesian, etc...

These dates correlate with our observations of impressed date stamps on a wide selection of Real Old Willow flatware. The date stamps, when present, take the form of 3 or 4 numbers, often accompanied by the word BOOTHS, and give the month and year of manufacture of the clay body upon which the transfer was fired. Here are some examples:

335 - March 1935
1127 - November 1927
9.16 - September 1916

Unfortunately, many dealers still insist on the dates given by Godden, even when items are clearly impressed with contradictory date stamps. This confusion is also widespread amongst other Booths patterns with the Silicon China "Crown" mark, such as Parrot, Netherlands, Pagoda, etc, which were all produced much later than the supposed 1912 cut-off point, as is evident from impressed dates.

When the Booths factory closed in 1981, Royal Doulton decided to continue production of REAL OLD WILLOW, with their own backstamp, adding the words "The Majestic Collection". This range was produced on a translucent china body rather then the opaque Silicon China one, and was in production from 1982 until 1999. These later items with the Doulton backstamp are still widely available, but are too recent to be of interest to many collectors.

Thanks to Fran Entwhistle for drawing the Biernacki article to our attention.

We specialise in English tableware from the 1920s and 30s and ship worldwide from our base in London, UK.
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