The liberating period of the 1920’s to 1930’s often seems incongruous to non-Doulton figure collectors who associate ladies in ballgowns with Doulton figures, but those in the know, recall that there are a small group of nude figures produced in the art deco period that encapsulate that movement perfectly. All the figures contained in this small band of lady figures were the brain child of Leslie Harradine, Doulton’s then principal figure modeler.
As if to prove their own artistic credentials, Doulton introduced over a 10 year period several nude studies that confirmed their artistic prowess.
The first we must all know was Harradine’s The Bather, modeled on this contemporary advert for Cyclax bath salts.
There were six different versions of this popular model, with this colourway proving to be the most popular.
The Bather HN687.
In the succeeding years there was a second version of The Bather introduced, shown here. Although a different model, she was obviously intended to be a partner to the original.
The Bather HN773 (second version).
By the mid to late 1930’s tastes had changed and prudery was once more on the rise, and so a last version of this figure was introduced wearing a bathing suit, so reflecting the continued interest in lidos.
The Bather HN1708.
This rather quaint figure produced in the early 1920’s is another advertising figure, but this time it’s purpose is to advertise the once popular Illustrated London News magazine. It covered all topical issues and as well as political comment, satire and stories, it also included full page prints for its readers of modern pictures. It was originally a weekly broadsheet but it move to bi-annual until it ceased production after the millennium.
The Beefeeter is a warder of the Tower of London and not a Yeoman of the Guard as is often stated. The Warder Beefeeter served the Towers prisioners and to protect the Crown Jewels but today they act more as tourist guides.
This Doulton personification of this famous London character holds an actual copy of the Illustrated London News from May 14 1842 , whose print is actually readable. Examples without any text do exist but it is the original that is most sought after.
Between 1977 and 1982 Royal Doulton released this selection of twelve dancers of the world, each in a limited edition of 750. As with all of Peggy’s figures, the range proved highly popular and collectors today are equally enthralled by the movement and spirit they embody. Interestingly, it was not Peggy but in fact Bill Harper who originally suggested theseries and he even produced two figures before the concept was completed by Peggy. These exquisitely researched and executed figures represent all four corners of the world: Africa, America, Asia and Europe.
It is unusual to think of Collecting just clocks but of course there are dedicated clock collectors out there. When it comes to Royal Doulton, collectors are usually happy with one or two examples, unless we’re talking about Kingsware collectors!
Clocks have been produced at both Lambeth and Burslem over the years and even in relatively modern times. Stoneware examples are naturally magnificent and by greats such as Tinworth, although more modest Silicon examples were also produced at Lambeth which can be bought relatively modestly today.
Two “Monk” scene clocks; the right hand one signed by Noke and C. Vyse (not to be confused with the sculptor of Darling HN1)
The topic here is Kingsware and there are a handful of wonderful art nouveau designs that can be found as part of this range. So far (that’s always the way to think) there have been five subjects found on Kingsware clocks, which themselves have been recorded on three shapes.
The five characters are:
A. Night Watchman
C. Pied Piper
Whilst many remain undated, I did once see an Alchemist one dated 1904 and imaging the others to date from this period given their art nouveau decoration.
Rare Jester clock with verse (not shown)
Patience is the watchword when embarking on collecting this series of clocks, not to mention deep pockets! Yet, that is what makes collecting rewarding, isn’t it?
An early catalogue page c.1910 featuring Dutch Harlem.
At a time when Holland and all thins Dutch were ‘de rigueur’ Royal Doulton produced various Dutch themed pieces including figures in their HN collection, examples of handpainted wares and also 8 different Dutch themed seriesware designs.
Four pin trays illustrating how scenes could be manipulated and also the variation in colours that can be found.
The focus here is Dutch Harlem, one of Royal Doulton’s most enduringly popular designs of all seriesware patterns. Designed by the great Charles Noke and introduced in 1904, this series alone contained 35 scenes and remained in production until c.1943.
A selection of unusual shapes featuring Dutch Harlem.
As was typical scenes were gradually introduced and even adapted. Such adaptations included enhancing the colours used and introducing new shapes to be used.
Unusual match box cover and stand.
A particularly unusual version of Dutch Harlem was produced exclusively for the great London store Liberty’s, and further exclusive productions of biscuit barrels were produced for the biscuit manufacturers McVitie and Price.
A variety of Dutch themed seriesware items produced by Royal Doulton, including Dutch Harlem.
Inspired by lots in Whitley’s Auctioneers’ sale in just over a week, which will take place as part of a Royal Doulton Convention and Auction weekend January 12-14 (2018) in Orlando, I thought it the perfect opportunity to look more closely at some examples of Royal Doulton’s sea themed work.
Just as with paintings and photography, the sea and sea-life have long provided inspiration for ceramic painters and those at Royal Doulton have produced some magnificent examples covering a wide spectrum of their ranges produced, particularly those wares we today class as Burslem products.
A magnificent Flambé vase with gilded fish against a Sung background.
The wonderful Mermaid figure displayed according to the contemporary advert from 1917.
1920s lustre vase with seascape.
A unique Titanian bowl.
An early Burslem seascape which would probably have had plated fittings to form a biscuit barrel or the like.
For further information on Whitley’s Auctioneers upcoming sale to include many star Royal Doulton works of art, visit:
Produced in three colourways as HN 1909 and HN 1910 from 1939, and HN 1963 from 1941, Leslie Harradine’s Honey is one of a small number of figures introduced during WWII and which subsequently had a short production run.
Interestingly the pink version, HN 1909, is the most frequently found and the only one I have seen produced post war too, with a remodelled angle to her neck and different flowers too.
She is based upon this illustration by Stanislaus Longley, which incidentally was also used as a cover girl by high end retailer Liberty of London for this 1930s Christmas catalogue.
Honey HN 1910 and the Liberty Christmas catalogue mentioned.
As you can see Harradine altered the actual model from the illustration, as he frequently did, but it is one of a number of Longley designs which he derived inspiration for figures from.
Note the ‘HA 3’ on the base signifying that this is the third trial proposed and painted by Harry Allen.
If you would like to read more about the inspiration behind some of Royal Doulton’s most iconic figures, check out my book ‘Reflections’ online.