Royal Doulton Tablewares – an art deco surprise!

Just as Doulton’s Lambeth art studio was supported by the manufacture of drainpipes, the Burslem enterprise was in its turn supported by the sale of Doulton’s famous tablewares.



A contemporary publicity shot for the Syren pattern.

Just as the many other pottery companies of the time, Doulton attempted to stay bang up to day whether it be imitating arts and crafts, designs, Victorian styles or geometric art deco patterns, yet, Doulton managed to climb to the top of the pile playing upon their heritage for producing quality items in modern tastes.

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A leaflet promoting Doulton’s latest designs ca. 1935.

As well as producing items for the humble households up and down the country and around the world, Doulton also supplied some of the top hotels and restaurants with exclusive tablewares including The Savoy and Claridges in London. Certain patterns were targeted at particular markets such as the Maple Leaf pattern for Canada or the Wattle pattern for Australia.

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A tableware leaflet illustrating Doulton’s deco tableware shapes.

Today it is possible to build up a vintage set of china whether in one particular pattern if you are patient or by mixing and matching the many styles available. In general it will be of interest for collectors to note that many of the deco dinner services were produced in earthenware, whilst the same pattern could be bought in bone china as a tea set. The reason being the durability of earthenware.

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Another publicity shot this time featuring Eden on an earthenware body, note the wonderful toast rack!

Here is a set that Paul has unearthed recently, I love the simplistic art deco lines in silver and the classic lines of the shape it is on.

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The Royalty pattern with its simplistic art deco platinum lines.

Another interesting thing to collect are the many tablecloths produced for Doulton featuring their most popular lines. I have a few examples including one to match Eden in the colourway above.

When you’ve built up a collection, use it as it will bring so much more pleasure! Happy collecting….

Royal Doulton’s Lustre wares Part 1

Doulton produced their lustre wares from the late 19th Century to the mid 20th Century, so there are plenty of variations to collect. Here is an interesting page from a Doulton catalogue from 1924 showing their range of lustred vases and bowls to collect.


An early catalogue page.

Looking at the price list for these items, they were equivalent to other Doulton wares including Flambé and Titanian. Today these pieces are available at much more modest prices and many interesting shapes in vases etc…can be found.

Lustre is achieved by a thin metallic glaze being fired over the existing glaze. There are several transfer decorated items to collect in this lustre glaze, and one particular favourite of mine is this set featuring a japanese style tree and butterflies.


A group of oriental inspired lustre pieces.

As always with Doulton expect the unexpected for I have seen the interior of vases with lustre glazes where just the flared lip of the vase can be seen to Titanian bowls with a lustre finish either inside and out or just lustred on the inside.


A single view of the tall lustre vase. This shape was popular at the turn of the 20th Century and many fine pieces of handpainted Doulton can be found on this shape.

Figures and animals too were given a lustre glaze and in cases where the piece has lost its lustre it is impossible for us to tell that it would have had a lustre glaze as there was no special backstamp for this ware.

Doulton’s Williamsburg Figures

The original Williamsburg figures were introduced in 1960 and of course for this time were the models of the great Peggy Davies. Subsequently other figures were added to the series and also a set of Character Jugs.

These figures represented what would have been the major personalities of 18th Century Williamsburg, once the seat of government. Wherafter Williamsburg fell into decay and it wasn’t until the early 20th Century that the decision was made to restore this shrine of American Character and tradition. Each of the town’s buildings would be reconstructed and refurnished exactly to suit the dignity of its 18th Century heyday.

Today, side by side with the restored town, costumed tradesmen ply the trades of over 2 centuries ago – and this is where the inspiration for the range comes from. So we have a Silversmith, a Wigmaker, the famous Hostess and a lady and gentleman of the town among other characters.


The eight figures in the series.

These figures had a special backstamp as shown below.


The bases of the figures showing the special backstamp.

For me the great thing about this series is the opportunity to add other figures to it, for many of Peggy’s ‘Pretty Ladies’ fit ideally into this group of figures, as do Mary Nicoll’s character figures such as The Coachman HN2283, The Clockmaker HN2279 and of course her study of The Craftsman HN2284 (below).






How do you pair your Doulton figures?

With so many collectors sharing views of their collections and enjoying arranging their collections, I thought I would share a few groups and pairings that I think work together. Enjoy!

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Patricia and The Paisley Shawl in two sizes.

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Camille and Fleurette look picture perfect together, as do Camilla and Virginia below.

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The lovely Pinkie and Monica.

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Bon Jour and a colourway of Miss Demure.

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Two sizes of Pierette.

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The Masqueraders with their interlocking bases, that allow them to kiss!

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Marie in a variety of colurways.

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Two versions of Goody Two Shoes.

So how do you choose which pieces to put together? Don’t forget to share your pictures on our facebook page: Doulton Collectors Club




Another personal favourite, Velluma ware

The Velluma backstamp.

Velluma is a particularly rare ware today and pieces rarely turn up. The body has an almost parchment texture to it and the tea wares particularly are prone to damage. The colours are often quite muted, which adds to the vellum feel of this particular ware. These pieces were fired at high temperatures to enhance the soft effect desired.

Three items of Velluma ware by the two of the main artists.

Unusually the pots were made at Burslem and then decorated at Lambeth to the designs of Arthur Pearce, William Rowe and Margaret Thompson.

A rare match box stand.

Through deduction it appears that Arthur Pearce was responsible for the castle and topographical scenes, William Rowe the countryside scenes and Margaret Thompson the crinoline ladies and fairies.

Three dishes with countryside or castle designs. Bamburgh Castle seems to have been a popular design as I have seen most items with this design.

Doulton’s miniature kittens!


There are a number of animal groups popular with collectors and which are fun to track down to complete the set.

Just like the piglets we looked at recently, there are six kittens in this set too, and conveniently three are ginger and three are brown, again allowing us to create a pleasant grouping.

These kittens, just like the piglets were the work of the great Peggy Davies when first apprenticed to Doulton. They were introduced in 1941 and withdrawn in the mid 1980’s.

As with all things a Doulton the longer an item is out of production, the more it is sought after and these kittens are no exception. Happy collecting!

Teaware, dinnerware and …. pepper pots?


Yes you read it correctly! Something I have never seen until recently and then another promptly turns up! Typical of Doulton, typical of collecting…don’t you agree?

These charming pepper pots were of course the work of the famous Robert Allen studio at Doulton’s in Nile Street and date to the early 20th Century.

Alas they didn’t come with a salt or a mustard, but perhaps they weren’t produced to, but rather they are stand alone pieces? Who knows?

Anyway, just when you think you’ve seen it all here is something relatively inconsequential to brighten up the day!

Doulton Lambeth’s pâte-sur-pâte technique.

A chance finding of the vase below inspired me to do a quick résumé of this once popular technique. Literally translated it means paste on paste, this type of ware was produced between 1878 and ca. 1906.


This type of ware was favoured by Florence Barlow who painted her birds and also Eliza Simmance who used it to highlight her flower designs.

An unusual technique and pieces of this ware are relatively scarce. Here is the base I the vase above with Edith Lupton’s initials and a series of clear markings including a date.


Doulton’s Impasto ware


Impasto ware is often confused with faience simply because the body it uses is often the same. Later pieces seem to actually use a faience body as you can clearly see with this marking.


The similarity to faience differs with the decoration of Impasto ware. The coloured slips with the latter were applied so thickly that the images, mainly of flowers, appear almost in relief.


Impasto was produced between 1888 and ca.1914. The great Kate Rogers seems to have been particularly associated with this ware and the large vase above is by her and dated 1888.

Doulton’s miniature piglets


Animals have always been popular amongst Royal Doulton collectors and one particularly popular set are the six mini piglets pictured here. Introduced in 1959 and withdrawn in 1967 they can be found but not readily thus making them a popular collecting theme. The piglets are all modelled I a grassy base and fortunately three face to the right and three to the left allowing us to create a nice display when we find all six!
The six piglets range in height from 1-2inches and were all modelled by a young Peggy Davies.