Royal Doulton’s ‘Dogs of Character’.

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An early publicity shot for the series.

Although the modeller or modellers for this delightful set of dogs is unknown, inspiration for them comes directly from the many dog illustrations by Cecil Aldin.

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The cover of ‘A dog day’ illustrated by Aldin.

The series was expanded at a handful of points. The original six models were introduced in 1934, then a further two in 1937. These were succeeded by four more models in 1938. There was a large gap then until 1959 when the character dog with slipper was introduced.

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A group of character dogs including the rarer HN1098.

From this original set there were withdrawals in 1959 and these are naturally the most sought after.

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Another of the first withdrawals HN1101.

At some point in their early production, the series also had an early backstamp unique to it.

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A further six studies were added to the set in 1941 and are HN2585-2590. The popularity of this set meant that the remaining dogs were in production until 1985 and even after this a handful were re-produced under the Beswick brand, although these later ones are instantly distinguishable from the Doulton ones due to their lack of detail.

Variations in dogs and occasional prototypes do turn up and I know of a dog playing with a tin and ball of string and here on the right is a rare version of HN1099 with a front paw modelled differently.

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A catalogue page showing the first 12 dogs in the set ca.1938.

All content and pictures © Christopher Evans 2014.

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