Royal Doulton’s Figure Darling – where it all began!

Or rather where the then new figure range began in 1913 – is perhaps how that heading should read.

Darling in his original size with HN 1 at the fore, the HN 1371 and of course the more frequently found HN 1319.

In reality Darling was not the first figure in the HN collection but due to Queen Mary’s famous christening of him with her statement “Isn’t he a darling” – he was given the prestigious number 1 in the new number sequence.

Typical early base, this time belonging to HN 1. Note the actual number of figures painted on the inside ‘349’!

Designed by Charles Vyse who would later inspire Doulton’s famous balloon sellers, Darling was produced in his original size of 19cm in four colourways – HN 1 in a pale blue grey nightshirt, HN 1319 in a white nightshirt with black base and then HN 1371 and 1372 in green and pink nightshirts respectively and both with black bases. Of all these originally size models it is HN 1371 and 1372 which are the particularly rare examples.

In the post WWII period Darling was remodelled in the now smaller and most familiar size of 13cm as HN 1945 and remained in production as such until 1997. A lovely additional version of him HN 3613 for Peter Jones the China specialist was introduced to mirror the original HN 1 colouring in 1993.

Only one further model of this charming young boy has been produced and that was for Royal Doulton’s 200th Anniversary Icons series as HN 5648 in a smaller size again of 10cm!

The now mid size Darling HN 3613 with his smaller Icons series counterpart HN 5648, pictured against the first figure booklet from 1913. Note the reference to Queen Mary and ‘Now at Buckingham Palace’! 

All in all Darling proved to be the first of one of Royal Doulton’s most popular collecting themes when it comes to figures – children! 

June’s Doulton event – save the date! 

Hello again everyone–We’re very excited about the plans for our 2017 Summer Royal Doulton Fair on Sunday, June 11. As you already know, we’ll have Michael Doulton as our special guest, feature an exclusive fair special figure, and have a full day’s activities for collectors while you enjoy shopping with the UK’s top Royal Doulton dealers. We’re particularly excited to be at the newly refurbished World of Wedgwood in Barlaston this year where we can all enjoy everything they have to offer—their incredible museum, shops and café.Candy and Bill Beal have more exciting news, too, about their “To The Manor Born” UK tour that they’re scheduling around our event. The group will assemble in London on Monday, June 5, depart for the Cotswolds the next day for 3 days of touring and enjoying that unique area and then it’s off to Stoke-on-Trent for 5 full days of visiting stately homes like Chatsworth House and Tudor masterpieces like Little Moreton Hall.  

Best of all for collectors, though, will be the Summer Royal Doulton Fair and everything surrounding it but the group will also enjoy many extras—invitation to a special preview of the Fair the night before, an incredible tour of the Moorcroft factory and museum, a special dinner with Royal Doulton experts, and more to be announced later.  

Several days in the Oxford area will come next with tours at wonderful locations like Windsor Castle and Blenheim Palace. The tour will finish on Sunday, June 18.  

Beautiful manor houses such as Barnsley House (above) will be home bases for the group at all three locations. For more information on this all-inclusive “To The Manor Born” tour, including pricing, please contact Candy and Bill at and follow them on Facebook @WhiteNightsNorthernLights for trip updates, photos and more.

I’ll be joining the group for many of the events at Stoke-on-Trent so I’ll be looking forward to seeing you then. Space will be limited at these manor houses so please contact Candy and Bill as soon as possible.

Best regards,



An exciting Royal Doulton summer event! 

Happy New Year—2017 is going to be a banner year for Royal Doulton enthusiasts. The highlight will be the Summer Royal Doulton Fair on Sunday, June 11. We’re excited because this year it will be at the newly refurbished World of Wedgwood in Barlaston.

This event features a guest appearance by Michael Doulton, an exclusive fair special and a full day’s activities for collectors. There will be a vast selection of Royal Doulton for sale from the UK’s top Royal Doulton dealers and you’ll also be able to preview Royal Doulton’s latest additions. The World of Wedgwood location gives us even more special things to do.

As a bonus, Candy and Bill Beal of White Nights Northern Lights travel company are building one of their “To The Manor Born” UK tours around our event from Monday, June 5, through Sunday, June 18. Their tour includes guided tours in and around the Cotswolds, Stoke-on-Trent and the Potteries, Oxford and the Thames Valley; ground transportation; gourmet meals; and rooms at exclusive manor houses that have been converted to hotels and selected for their comfort, fine dining and unique atmosphere, such as Barnsley House in the Cotswolds (below).  

Tours will include iconic locations like Windsor Castle, Chatsworth House, Little Moreton Hall and the Cotswold countryside, but also many places especially designed to interest Royal Doulton collectors. Candy and Bill live in the US but this tour is open to collectors like yourself from anywhere. More details and surprises will be coming soon but if you’d like to get more details now please email them at

I’ll be participating in some of the tour events so I’m looking forward to seeing many of you there in June. Space will be limited at these manor houses so please contact the Beals as soon as possible.

Best regards,



Doulton’s Hispano Moresque wares

Hispano Moresque was one of John Slater’s first successes at Doulton’s Nile Street works in the early 1880s. 

At the time Doulton at Nile Street only had an earthenware body to use as a medium, which fortunately suited Slater’s revival of the centuries old Hispano Moresque tradition of lustre painting.

Often examples of this red lustre ware can be identified by an ‘Art Ware’ mark in addition to either a typical early Doulton rosette backstamp or simply an impressed Doulton. In addition you can often find an impressed Faience mark on such early pieces.

As well as being an artist John Slater was something of an innovator and collectors will be well aware of many pieces of Burslem and Lambeth ware bearing the term ‘Slater’s Patent’ including Doulton’s famous Chiné ware.

Precise production dates of Hispano Moresque are unknown although it is estimated that unlike its contemporary ‘Spanish ware’, the former’s  production was limited to the 1880s. 

Royal Doulton’s ducks, drakes and mallards….

Two drakes and a duck in the medium size c.6″.

Birds featured heavily in the earliest items produced as part of Royal Doulton’s famous HN Collection, which for a generation means simply their legendary figure collection.

A selection of small size drakes and ducks.

The earliest models produced for the range in 1913 were actuallyanimals and there are collectors out there who have managed to source some wondrous and rare examples of these animals.

A further early illustration of medium size mallards, including a spill vase version HN2544.

Doulton themselves were somewhat easygoing when it came to actually naming their animals correctly and occasional slips by them are easily excusable when you see the quality of detail and modelling that was achieved so early on in the 20th century.

A rare and early duck.

When talking about ducks, there are typically large, medium and small examples tombe found of most, although rare character figures of ducks exist such as the example illustrated. Moreover, the large size was added to the Presige range.

A large size ‘Drake’ and Penguin from 1938.

Typically later HN numbers simply refer to modified decoration and some later post WWII examples are very similar to much earlier productions. 

A 1920 publicity photograph featuring some of Doulton’s bird models. 

Royal Doulton’s festive seriesware miniatures.

Nothing says Christmas quite like Father Christmas and Royal Doulton were astute enough to introduce a range of miniatures featuring Santa into their Seriesware range as early as 1904.


You can see from this 1905 advert that Doulton’s then advertising team were suggesting these miniatures could replace the sending of Christmas cards for the diminutive sum of one shilling in old money. 

In total there were six Father Christmas scenes and a further two festive scenes of a turkey and geese that Louise Irvine in her Seriesware books has called Festive Fare. You can see an unusual turkey coal skuttle in the main picture and another angle of it below, yet the even more unusual geese I have only seen in blue and white rather than in what we might call festive colourings.

 In terms of borders the Santa pieces have either bells or holly, whereas the turkey and geese images typically have a mixture of mistletoe and holly.

These two series had short production runs; the outbreak of WWI ceased their productions.

Merry Christmas to all! 🎄

The magical world of Beatrix Potter; celebrating 150 years since the novelist’s birth.

2016 marks 150 years since the birth of the legendary Beatrix Potter, arguably one of the most beloved children’s authors in the world. Her enchanting stories of Peter Rabbit and friends have captured children’s imaginations since Peter first appeared in 1902.

The notion of creating China figures of her characters first came from Ewart Beswick and his wife while holidaying in the Lake District – a location close to the author’s heart. The first model produced was based on Jemima Puddleduck and was swiftly followed by other models created by the Beswick artist Arthur Gredington. 

Jemima was joined by Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten and Mrs Tittlemouse among many others! 

The production of Beatrix Potter figures and other inspired wares was not only completed by Beswick but by Royal Albert and others.

As with all collectibles, one piece is swiftly joined by another and so the popularity of Beatrix’s charming characters continues to spread throughout the world. 

My thanks to Seaway China for use of their images.

For a comprehensive selection of Beatrix Potter figures, visit

A place to share enthusiasm for all things Royal Doulton! All original content ©Christopher Evans 2014 unless otherwise credited. No unauthorised reproduction permitted.