Date is 1888 but what ship is this flag from?

I came across this Minton china bowl and in the centre are two flags. I know Minton made tableware for shipping lines so I am assuming that that is what this is but I have so far been unable to identify the flag. I know from the mark on the back of the bowl that it dates from either 1888 or 1889.

I am interested to know what the flags are from; a shipping line, naval, or…?

http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k289/foraboard/IMGP42791.jpg

They look like signal flags rather than ones identifying an organization or country.

One thing they could be is the signal for “VX” or “VR”. Would that make sense in context?

Victoria Regina? Could they be part of a naval service?

It’s hard to tell since the graphic is in monochrome, but it is possible that the bottom flag is a “masthead” or “commissioning” pennant used by the (UK) Royal Navy.

“In the Royal Navy, the commissioning pennant has a cross of St. George in the hoist and a white fly. The pennant reflects the fact that the ship is a ship of war, and is flown until the ship is decommissioned. It is generally taken to signify the commissioned status of the warship. A boat carrying a captain of one of Her Majesty’s ships will on ceremonial occasions fly a commissioning pennant from the bows of the boat as a symbol of his authority as well. Modern Royal Navy commissioning pennants are significantly shorter than in previous centuries - typically 1m in length and only 10cm at the hoist, tapering to a squared-off point…field consists [of] white with the red cross of St. George sewn on at the head.”
Source: http://lighthouseantiques.net/Flags.htm. (Scroll way, way down.)

The top pennant could be showing the St. Patrick’s cross.

This website may lead you to useful info: http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/gb^~pen.html

Its much too short to be a decommissioning pennant, these things are usually as long as the vessel carrying them.
Having paid off a couple of ships, they are highly prized and difficult to acquire.

That is true for a decommissioning pennant, but not necessarily so for a commissioning pennant: http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Massachusetts.jpg

But it’s all good. Personally, I don’t think either pennant shown on the plate is a commissioning pennant. I’m just trying to give the OP a starting point for further reaearch.

Thanks everyone for the information so far. It’s a long bow but I think it could be from the ship Victoria Regina which apparently was in Australian waters at that time. Or it could simply be to commemorate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee in 1887.

Something like that, or just general-purpose use of ‘VR’ on something depicting something with a royal connection (maybe a Royal Navy ship) - this practice was fairly common at the time (for example, on Royal Mail post boxes and other stuff such as lamp posts )