Peggy’s ‘Prima’ Ballerinas!

When Peggy Davies began to supply regular models to Doulton for reproduction she was determined to set her style apart from anything else hitherto produced. Whilst Doulton wanted to continue their house style after Harradine, Peggy had other ideas.

Among her first productions were a handful of ballerina figures, something that had not been created since the early and rare Pavlova HN487.

The delicacy and detail of these ballerinas are synonymous with Peggy’s style and so very distinguishable from other figure modellers.

The first in the series are Coppelia HN2115 and Ballerina HN2116, the origins of the latter are discussed in my book Reflections but Coppelia is based on the mechanical doll in Delibes’ comic ballet from which the figure takes her name.

However, the most accurate ballet figures are the trio that followed these two models. The first, la Sylphide, is based on the ballet of the same name. La Sylphide should not be confused by the later ballet Les Sylphides which took inspiration from the original and also features a sylph – a mythological spirit if the air. I have recently discovered the prototype version of this figure with a crown of flowers sitting proudly above her head rather than the band of flowers on the model that went into production.

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L-R the production version of la Sylphide and the prototype..

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Full views of the two figures that illustrate their common features. Yet, the detail is of course much more defined on the prototype. The prototype version simply carries the Doulton marks as one would expect.

The second two are based on the ballet Giselle by Gautier first performed in 1841. Here are all three studies!

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L-R Giselle HN2139, La Sylphide HN2138 and Giselle, the Forest Glade HN2140.

This group of figures make an excellent display and loan themselves to any room in the house!

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