The Copyright and Design Act 1839 introduced a system of registration to protect new and original designs for a wide range of articles.
Pottery was included and W&R, with many other potteries, registered some of its shapes and patterns to prevent plagiarism.
The Registered Number was printed onto ware to warn any potential imitators.
Below are some examples showing the variation in the style of the number, which could be printed in various colours. Often, on earlier patterns, the pattern name was printed with the registered number.
Because the date of registration of a registered design can be determined from its number this helps us date patterns, but, as with dating from backstamps this can be inexact. Sometimes a design could be registered after it had been in production for a while.
If you would like to see a list of registered numbers with their dates click on the button below.