Royal Doulton’s tribute to Florence Nightingale. 

We are all familiar with the story of the “Lady with the lamp” who visited the wounded soldiers in Scutari during the Crimean War – a celebrity created by the press during the Crimean war when the public needed a heroine to divert from current realities.

Florence Nightingale HN 3144 and her inspiration.

Florence came to prominence while serving as a nurse and manager during the Crimean War, where she organised the tending to of wounded soldiers. Her tremendous efforts during the Crimean War brought nursing a favourable reputation and she herself became an icon of Victorian culture, as the lady of the lamp.
The Young Miss Nightingale HN 2010 by Peggy Davies from her Period Figures in English History range. This piece reminds us that Florence was also a a young lady of rank and wealth, who spent much time on the continent.

As is typical, posthumously there has been much debate about the legacy Florence has left but in terms of nursing alone her legacy is still great with the Nightingale pledge taken by nurses and also a medal named after her.

Royal Doulton’s Philippa of Hainault HN 2008

This interpretation of the Queen of Edward III belongs to a wonderful series of Ladies from English History that were among the first of Peggy Davies’ models produced by Rpyal Doulton after WWII.

She ruled at a time when chivalry and pageantry filled the English court. Her husband and son, the Black Prince were men of war. Their captives the Kings of France and of Scotland were treated according to their rank, valour and misfortune – something that was attributed to her influence! 

That she is remembered for her gentleness and clemency is illustrated by the tale of her pleading for the lives of six citizens of Calais when the town fell. 

The Royal Doulton series of Period Figures in English History was made up of six personalities and was available for a short period (1948-53) and are all considered rare today! 

Royal Doulton’s Masquerade pair.

The sheer variety of early figures in Royal Doulton’s HN collection illustrates the lengths that were gone to, to appeal to early collectors as the company tried to discover a popular house style.

Title page of an early figure catalogue.

Of course by the time the Masquerade pair appeared in 1924, the great Leslie Harradine had already been supplying models to the Burslem art studios for a few years. 

A burnished gold HN636 Masquerade.

During the early 20thC there was huge interest in masked and costume balls and the latter must have inspired this pairing and other Chelsea inspired figures from a bygone age in English china manufacturing. 

Masquerade (female) HN 600.

‘Kissing’ Masqueraders HN 600 in china and HN 683 in earthenware.

Interestingly the two Doulton models’ bases fit so that the couple can kiss if the owner so wishes. They appear in this 1920’s figure catalogue titled Personalities and Porcelain along with a group of other early figures. Also of interest to note is that HN683 and HN 637 the last versions of each were actually made in earthenware rather than china like the other versions.

Masquerade HN 599 & 636.

Typical of Doulton’s studios they also experimented with this pair and a handful of other figures, producing examples in burnished gold with ivory face and hand details, imitating gold/bronze and Ivory figurative sculptures from the art nouveau era. 

Doulton’s Photographic Ware

A chance find of a portrait plaque featuring a well known portrait of Sir Henry Doulton has inspired this piece.

Doulton’s Photographic ware is rare with examples dating between 1893-1905 approximately. 

Early plate with a photographic image of Joseph Joachim, a popular violinist.

The method of transferring a photographic image on to transfer paper for application on to a china body was developed by John Slater and examples usually carry a simple Doulton mark and also the predictable “Slater’s Patent” stamp. 

A pair of early Slater’s Patent photographic plates (subjects unknown).

Subjects range from famous stage personalities of the time to other period celebrities.

Royal Doulton’s famous, former Headquaters in Lambeth. 


Built in the 1870’s in the gothic style ’A’ and ‘B’ blocks as they were known and the huge chimeney that stood next to them were a London landmark for 75 years and witnessed many of Doulton’s major accomplishments as well as playing host to many famous visitors from Royalty, to politicians, to latter day celebrities.

A floodlit view of blocks A and B from 1935 celebrating a Royal jubilee.

Doulton vacated these impressive buildings in early 1940 to the newly erected Doulton House, then just a few hundred yards along the Albert Embankment. Lying unoccupied and suffering bomb damage during WWII there was little option left than to demolish these impressive buildings in 1951.

A close up of the showroom and main offices block.

On the left is the former main office and showroom building, on the right a factory block and chimeney.

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Royal Doulton’s Newhaven Fishwife.

The Royal Doulton figure Newhaven Fishwife HN 1480 is like so many of their period street sellers and character figures, based closely on real life. The Scottish fishwives of Newhaven had a reputation for their beauty and industry. They were hard-bargainers though, and all the fishermen of the Firth of Forth in Edinburgh, Scotland, brought their catches to Newhaven for the fishwives to sell in Edinburgh city. 
Just like the Doulton figure, the fishwives of Newhaven wore distinctive costumes of layers of colourfully striped petticoats with a muslin cap or other similar headdress, together with a scarf, the tassels of which you can make out in the picture and also around the neck of the figure itself. Their fish, including haddock and herring, were carried on their backs in creels, again just like the figure.  

The Newhaven Fishwife although introduced in the 1930s, was not a Leslie Harradine figure, but a model by Harry Fenton, more famously associated today with Doulton’s Character Jugs. She is recorded as having been produced between 1931-37, however, her scarcity reinforces the reality that many figures were made to order rather than being readily available. 


Save the date: the next Royal Doulton, Beswick and Moorcroft Fair is June 12th…

….at Tillington Hall Hotel Stafford.

More, more, more is the strap line for our next collectors fair and first for 2016! 

More exhibitors!

More collectibles!

More space!

Entry is free with a copy or print of of this advert.

With collectibles old and new, plus fair specials what more reason do you need to stop by on the day! 

See you there! 

Questions? Just email them to

We look forward to welcoming you there! 


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