The Star China Company was formed by brothers Herbert James Aynsley and John Gerard Aynsley with William Illingworth in Longton, Staffordshire in 1899. The Aynsley brothers were the two eldest sons of John Aynsley, the then Mayor of Longton and founder of what is now Aynsley China. The name Paragon China was introduced by the Star China Co. in 1903 to reflect their high standards, and the company moved to the Atlas Works, Sutherland Road, Longton. Herbert Aynsley's daughter married Hugh Irving in 1907 and he subsequently joined his father-in-law as a partner in the Star China Company when Illingworth retired in 1910.
Such was the popularity of Paragon China that the company decided to change its name to become The Paragon China Company in 1920. Paragon introduced the 'Two for Joy' design to commemorate the birth of HRH Princess Elizabeth in 1926. This depicted two magpies which were reputed to have been seen at her christening. Paragon started labelling some better quality china as Royal Paragon but this breached the Warrants of Appointment and the prefix was withdrawn. Hugh Irving became sole proprietor when Herbert Aynsley retired and the partnership was dissolved in 1927. The Company became known as Paragon China Limited in 1930. Hugh Irving was joined by his two sons Leslie in 1928 and Guy in 1933.
Paragon was granted a Warrant of Appointment to Her Majesty Queen Mary in1933. The new Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother granted a Warrant of Appointment in 1938, and the new Queen Elizabeth II granted a Warrant of Appointment in 1958.
The Company was taken over by Thomas C. Wild and Sons Ltd. (Royal Albert) in 1960 although it retained the name Paragon Pottery. T.C.Wild was merged with the Lawley Group and the business name was changed to Allied English Potteries in 1964. Paragon along with Royal Albert became part of the Royal Doulton Group in 1972. Paragon China patterns were incorporated within Royal Doulton during the 1980s but the name was discontinued in 1993.
Hand-written numbers in coloured enamel on the base comprise up to four digits, all with a letter prefix with the exception of the first series. Prefix letters include X, F, G, and A. Some numbers also include a suffix of the form /1, /2, /3, etc. which describes the colourway. However, the Company produced some 30,000 patterns and not all can be identified. Paragon also relied on pattern names for identification after about 1960 but only about 1000 patterns were named and some of these incorrectly.
Star and Paragon Backstamps
Prior to April 1933, the Company's backstamp was based on the star motif from the original name of the Star China Company. From April 1933, when Paragon was granted its first Royal Warrant of Appointment by HM Queen Mary, the Company incorporated the arms of the Royal Warrant Grantor in their backstamp, During the period 1899-1940, Star and then Paragon registered only a single trade mark. Thus, many different Star and Paragon backstamps can be found but all bar one were unregistered and the dates for most are estimated.
Pre 1933 backstamps
Post 1933 backstamps
For further information go to the Paragon International Collectors Club