Royal Doulton’s Nell Gwynne and her inspiration

Leslie Harradine we all know was prolific in his output of figure models for Royal Doulton and he took inspiration from all corners of the world around him.
This charming figure of Nell Gwynne is based directly on this Player’s cigarette card from the ‘Famous Beauties’ series dating to the 1930’s.
The card in turn is based on the character of the same name who was the mistress of King Charles II, after she caught his eye selling oranges to the audience at the Drury Lane theatre at a performance he also attended. Nell remained a favourite mistress of the King and bore him two children. On his deathbed he is reputed to have asked “let not poor Nellie starve”.
Royal Doulton’s personification of this character fits in perfectly with the many street sellers they also produced.

Royal Doulton’s Nell Gwynne HN1887 and the illustration that inspired her.

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