Check out this link for a look at the first chapter in the 100 years of Doulton figures by me and published by Seaway China.
Here is the first page of the HN figure decoration book
Here is a sample:
Few people in 1913 would have imagined that this article would be being written to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Royal Doulton’s HN Collection. It was not after all Doulton’s first attempt at a introducing a figure range and many other famous factories had attempted and failed at this ambition. In 1893 at the World Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, a handful of figurative models by one of Doulton’s newest recruits Charles J. Noke were among their exhibits. These minimally decorated figures, now commonly referred to as Vellum Figures, met with a mixed reception from the buying public and Noke’s ambition of reviving the once famous, Staffordshire figure production was put on hold as his attention was drawn away by other projects including the introduction of Kingsware, Rembrandtware, Holbeinware, Hyperionware, the famous flambé glazes and the introduction of Doulton’s Series Ware with patterns such as the popular Dickens series. The range of Vellum Figures was very much influenced by the products of the Worcester factory where Noke had worked for some sixteen years until leaving to join Doulton in Burslem in his early 30’s. He would later comment that he joined Doulton ‘not for the money but for the freedom’ as Henry Doulton famously allowed his artists free rein.
A timely visit to the Doulton Burslem factory in April 1913 by England’s then King George V and Queen Mary provided a re-newed impetus to Noke’s desire to launch a new range of figures. In the years preceding this visit Noke had been approaching a carefully selected group of artists to provide models for Royal Doulton to reproduce in ceramic. It is reported that the new range of figures was completed in late 1912 but the launch of the range was held back to coincide with the Royal visit, and what a good decision this proved to be as Queen Mary would become a fan of the range making many purchases over the coming decades. In Royal Doulton’s brochures from the 1920’s and 1930’s they even pin pointed the figures Her Majesty had purchased – it undoubtedly proved very useful to have the most famous lady in the land favouring their figures.