W S Penley as CHARLEY’S AUNT (second version)  Issued in 1930 H. Fenton

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The contempory theatre greatly influence Noke’s figurine range. W S Penley was popular in his role in Charley’s Aunt by Brandon Thomas, where he plays an Oxford undergraduate who impersonates an “Aunt from Brazil” who is to act as chaperone to some young ladies  he and his friends wish to entertain. Charley’s Aunt ran for 1,466 performances after opening in 1913. On various anniversaries ladies in the audience were presented with a Doulton figurine of the main character commissioned by the author Brandon Thomas. About 500 – 600 of this commissioned figure were given away, together with a range of other souvenirs of the performances like those in the advert above. Early in his career in 1916, Noel Coward played the part of Charley.

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A contemporary picture and version 2 of this unusual figure, modeled in an identical post and holding a cup of tea.

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The figure was modelled by Albert Toft (1862 – 1949 ) who taught Leslie Harradine at Camberwell School of Art at evening classes when he was completing his apprenticeship at Doulton Lambeth. Toft  himself had studied at Stoke on Trent and  later at the Royal College of Art.

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