Child studies have always been popular with Royal Doulton collectors, and from the launch of the HN range child studies have played a key role in the range. We all know of course the famous story behind Darling HN1 modeled by Charles Vyse, but collectors are sometimes surprised to see that Leslie Harradine, perhaps the most collected of all Royal Doulton modellers, also created many charming portraits of children. With six children of his own he certainly had much in real life to base his models on. Unfortunately we do not know if any of the figures he supplied to Royal Doulton were based on any of his own children, but we do know a few of the sources he used.
If you look at my book ‘Reflections’ you will see a section dedicated to Molly Benatar and Harradine based his Miss Muffet HN1937 clearly on one of Benatar’s designs for Raphael Tuck, the greetings card specialist. Even the coloring of this figure is copied from the original.
Miss Muffet HN1937 and Molly Benatar’s ‘When hearts are young’ illustration
A recent discovery of mine is also that Nana HN1766 is based on another of Benatar’s pictures. The skirt, the hair and the hat worn identify Nana.
Molly Benatar illustration and Nana HN1766
Another of Harradine’s most popular child studies is Sweeting and she , dressed in her party frock, was inspired by an advert for the once eminent London department store Marshall and Snellgrove.
Other child figures by Harradine simply reflect childhood at its most innocent, consider Pyjamas HN1942 or To bed HN1805, either of whom could have been anyone of us in our early years. Harradine was able to capture a certain charm in his child studies, just as his did so perfectly with the bevy of ladies in so many varying guises, that he now is famed for.
One particularly popular child figure is Marie HN1417 introduced in 1930. A purple version of this figure was made up until 1988. Originally made as a pair to Rose HN1368, they can both be found in complimentary as well as contrasting colorways, and more unusually you can find them mounted on bookends and other objects. The enduring popularity of Rose meant that a new colorway HN2123 was introduced in 1983.
As with most Harradine figures, his child studies were also issued in several colourings. Particular favourites of mine are Lily HN1789, Ruby HN1724 and Diana HN1716. All three young girls display perfectly with their taller counterparts. Harradine understood precisely Royal Doulton’s requirements and when a popular theme was established he sought to develop it further. The world-famous Royal Doulton street sellers is one such case where a child study, namely Linda HN2106 was introduced to expand that series.
A final figure I would like to bring to your attention is The Rocking Horse HN2072. This particular figure I am sure you will agree is simply charming. The only reason I can summise for its short production (1951-53) is that the figure was too costly to produce. The inspiration for the piece is no doubt the film The Rocking Horse Winner from 1949, where the young hero discovers he can predict race winners by rocking his horse.
The Rocking Horse HN2072