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Wood and Sons

Yuan - Reg No 656368

Yuan plates
Yuan general stocklist
Yuan hexagonal items
Yuan new and unusual items
Yuan vases
Coloured Yuan

This widely collected blue & white pattern is the work of FREDERICK RHEAD - probably his best-known tableware design. Production was commenced around 1916 and the publicity of the 1930s described it as "a reproduction of a charming oriental design from the 13thC YUAN dynasty (1280-1367)".

From a distance YUAN can easily be confused with the OLD CHELSEA pattern produced by FURNIVALS. Indeed there was a dispute between the two companies as to which had the rights to the design, Frederick Rhead maintaining in court that he copied it from a Chinese plate in the British Museum...

YUAN must have been produced in larger quantities than any other Woods pattern, and one can still find items in a wide range of sizes and shapes. In many ways, YUAN is the Woods equivalent of Booths Real Old Willow.

The pattern is an interesting one to collect, as different sized plates have different central designs, featuring an assortment of birds surrounded by foliage.

A small selection of the various designs is shown right. On some plates a pair of birds is depicted.

Furthermore the copper plates which formed the templates for the transfers were periodically re-engraved, leading to interesting variations within the same design (see below).

Early teapots, jugs, gravy boats and lidded sugar bowls were produced in the famous hexagonal shape (see right), one of Woods' most elegant creations. See also the teapot in our banner (top of page).

To view our stock of HEXAGONAL YUAN items click here


Around the 1960s the hexagonal shape was phased out and the above items were produced in a more streamlined, circular shape.

Throughout the production period, plates, bowls and cups were usually circular.

For YUAN PLATES, please click here
For our GENERAL YUAN stocklist click here


Frederick Rhead also used the YUAN design on more fancy items such as vases, although these are hard to come by.

For YUAN VASES click here

For other NEW and UNUSUAL ITEMS click here


As with many Woods blue & white patterns, hand-coloured versions were also produced, in much smaller quantities. Coloured items can be found over both blue and brown transfers

For COLOURED YUAN click here

Production of YUAN was more or less continuous from 1916 to the 1980s, making it their longest-lived and most successful pattern. The lack of impressed date stamps after WW2 makes it often difficult to date items accurately.

After a gap in the 1990s, Woods briefly re-introduced the design around 2003. It was made in range of three colours - blue, red and black - in a single design (one bird facing left). These items are thickly potted and have a completely different backstamp (see right).

Woods finally went out of business in 2006.

We specialise in English tableware from the 1920s and 30s and ship worldwide from our base in London, UK.
This site only shows a small fraction of our stock - if you don't see what you're looking for, please e-mail us.

Please note we don't offer a valuation service.

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