I’ve recently been asked to describe how to use the face of a Royal Doulton lady to identify her age.
The earliest pretty lady size figures had very simple faces, often with just black dots for eyes. I have in my own collection this version of a Polly Peachum with simple blue dots – I’ve never seen another like this.
In the early 1930’s faces were typically like this one belonging to Sweet Maid.
And here is a similar face belonging to Barbara.
Around 1932 there was a further change among Doulton’s artists and faces like this one on Pantalettes became the norm.
Then ca.1935 these faces with coloured eyes appeared popular and are readily found on figures from this time.
Thereafter until production ground to a halt sometime in 1944 the faces of Doulton’s ladies remained quite similar to the two here from Verena and Meriel.
Post WWII there was often a return to blue eyes on some figures but the ladies generally appeared less ‘max-factored’ as I call it. Here is one such example.
By the early 1950’s there was a further change to a more simple face like these belonging to Carolyn and Judith.
As Doulton figures at this time were all purely handpainted much variation exists and whilst I personally prefer the faces from the late 1930’s it is possible to find ‘max-factored’ faces on later figures such as Giselle and Jacqueline down here.
It would be impossible for me to describe every single face ever painted but I hope this general description helps collectors identify or distinguish figures from various decades.