The inspiration behind Royal Doulton’s Easter Day.

Collectors of Royal Doulton’s world famous figurines are aware of the many sources that inspired figures from stars of the theatre, to calendar and card designs published by the likes of Raphael Tuck & sons.

However, one particular star of Royal Doulton’s HN range was inspired by the great actress Vivien Leigh in her role in the legendary film Gone with the Wind in which she played Scarlett O’Hare.

Here you can see a press cutting along with an early dated version of Easter Day from 1943; incidentally two years after she was originally modelled. Also in the picture is a very similar looking prototype from 1942 that I display along side the large size figure.

Royal Doulton’s famous ‘Kings Ware’ or Kingsware as we now know it!

Kingsware 1898-1939

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One of the most collectible Doulton wares remains Kingsware. Produced between 1898 and 1939, Kingsware was the brain child of Burselm’s legendary Art Director Charles Noke, and totally unique to Doulton and one which no other factory has managed to replicate ever since.

The unique effect was achieved by painting the design in coloured slips on the inside of the plaster mould, before adding the dark brown slip that would form the body of the piece.

The main area of collecting remains whisky flasks made for a variety of distillers – the most popular of which are the many created especially for Dewars.

Occasionally decanters were retailed with silver mounts and stoppers when produced for high-end gentlemen’s retailers. Such exclusive pieces were sold for a limited time at Christmas with a different title each Christmas.

As was typical with Doulton, full records of the many wares they produced were sketchy and even those with access to them rarely understood in detail their contents, thus until books on the subject were collated there were many anomalies not least that stoneware and Kingsware flasks were not distinguished.

Doulton Lambeth Toby Wares by Harry Simeon


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Simeon was the son of a monumental mason, which perhaps explains his everlasting interest in sculpture. Simeon moved from Huddersfield to London in 1896 when he started work at Doulton in Lambeth and also the year he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art.

Simeon’s versatility cannot be denied when one looks at the variety of Lambeth wares he produced. Naturally there were many hand designed vases, but there were also late edition vases made between 1910 and 1925, as well as endearing Toby wares that he modelled that we’re introduced in 1925.

Squished and squashed, these charming figures of bygone days can be found on an array of object! Here are some wonderful examples coming up at Lion and Unicorn Auctions!

When one considers the wares with which his is now associated it is hard to believe that he criticised his own talent, describing it once as overly fussy and preferring the artistry of Mark Marshall’s often simplistic designs. Joseph Mott, Lambeth’s art director in the early 20th Century had a particular interest in pottery of ages gone especially medieval pottery, encouraging Simeon to produce wares in this vein and also pots suitable for the many glaze effects trialled by Mott in the early part of the 20th Century.

Up until the end of Simeon’s association with Doulton in 1936, his style remained versatile, producing in the 1920’s designs for the Persian ware range and also a myriad of slip ware pieces in a colourful pallet.


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Royal Doulton’s legendary Sung Glaze

Sung by Royal Doulton


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Charles Noke continued to experiment with glazes long after the departure of Cuthbert Bailey with whom he had perfected the Flambé glaze in the early 1900’s. And so in 1920 Sung was introduced, whereby painted decoration, colour and gilt are fused with the a flambé glaze.

I am sure you will agree that from this publicity photograph the pieces are magnificent. However, it is in the flesh that these pieces must be enjoyed to full effect as in this slide. Vases, large and small were decorated with exotic birds, pixies in woodlands, fish in seascapes along with many other subjects.

These pieces were painted principally by Harry Nixon, Arthur Eaton and Fred Moore. Sung glazes can be found on Buddhas, as seen here in this advert from the 1920’s, a handful of suitable early figures from the HN range such as A Spook, as well as animals, in particular elephants, a favourite of Charles Noke.

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Doulton Lambeth Sporting Relief Wares

Sporting Reliefs

Images of sports including cricket, cycling, shooting, running, football, long jump, rugby, soccer, horse racing and golf can be found decorating Lambethware. These items remain as popular today as they did during the time they were produced from the 1880’s to the outbreak of World War I.

Originally designed by John Broad, sporting relief items can be found with silver mounts, befitting their status as trophies and commemoratives and enabling personalised inscriptions to be given to the silver mounts.

The most popular remain the golfing and cricket subjects and items of Doultonwarefeaturing these sporting themes regularly crop up at specialist sporting auctions.

Royal Doulton’s child study ‘Dunce’ lot 121 @Bonhams 11.08.20

This most unusual figure is making an outing this coming Tuesday at Bonhams in London.

Although colourways are recorded as HN 6, 310 and 357 this particular version is a colourway. Impressed ‘79’ to the base signifying the model number and carrying an impressed date for April 1924, this child is nearly 100 and not looking bad for that!

Modelled by the great Charles Noke at the introduction of his now world famous HN collection in 1913, so few examples of him have turned up in the succeeding century.

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