Collecting Doulton tiles

An early advertisement featuring a tile.

Tiles are another avenue of collecting that many Doulton collectors know very little about. However, if you were to ask tile collectors about Doulton tiles, they would tell you that there are some magnificent examples out there to collect.

A similar tile to the one in the advert above.

Originally produced in the 19th and early 20th century, the fashion for decorating great portions of buildings, both inside and out, in tiles fell out of fashion during the first half of the last century.

A good example of a tube lined tile.

Doulton tiles fall into two camps: architectural and art ware; and again divided into individual tiles and sets or panels.

A magnificent panel courtesy of Seaway China.

I am sure many of you will have paid a visit to the food halls of Harrods in London and seen the wonderful art nouveau Doulton tiles by Neatby there or perhaps the wonderful Doulton art nouveau arcade in Norwich, but there are examples outside the UK too in Singapore’s railway station for example and countless hospitals around the world.

A double page from a book by Doulton from 1904 illustrating some Hospital panels installed by them to date.

As I have already mentioned there are countless tile panels in churches and hospitals around the world too designed by Doulton’s top artists including Margaret Thompson and William Rowe.

A charming hand-painted tile with Apple blossom.

Yet, for collectors there are numerous designs in tiles to collect. Here are some that I have come across over the years, some artist pieces some production pieces. Nevertheless an interesting theme to collect!







Royal Doulton’s Edward VIII loving cup

Original Certificate for this cup.

This commemorative loving cup was made to commemorate the coronation that never was. Edward VIII was born in 1894 and succeeded his father as King in 1936. The story of his abdication and the reasons behind it are now romantic legend, yet he did serve as King for 325 days before deciding to abdicate.

The front of the large jug.

Edward VIII is portrayed in half length on the front if the jug wearing what would have been his coronation regalia, together with the flags for the 4 realms of the UK. The handles bear the names of the countries that now make up the Commonwealth where he was also King.

Detail of one handle.

The reverse of the jug shows St. George on horseback infront of Windsor Castle surrounded by Commonwealth flags and other regalia.

The wonderfully detailed reverse of the large jug.

This large jug was issued in 1937 in an addition of 2000, although only 1080 were sold before the abdication crisis. Modelled by the greats- Noke and Fenton who were responsible for do many wares at this time – the cup bears both signatures.

It is possible to build up a collection of all these limited edition loving cups and jugs and it makes a strong statement when they are all together.

For further information on loving cups and jugs, see the article devoted to them on our Doulton Collectors Club Facebook page.

Royal Doulton’s ‘Skating’ seriesware pattern

An early trivet in the Skating pattern dated 1907.

This old world comic scene of skaters with the inscriptions ‘Pryde goeth before a fall’ or ‘Do not worry, do not flurry, nothing good is got by worry’ are particularly hard to find today and always popular with collectors.


A charming jug with the alternate Greek key border.

Introduced in 1907 and certainly withdrawn before the late 1920’s this series offers 14 different scenes for collectors with a handful of subtle variations to borders and also glazes for collectors to seek out.


A jug in a treacle or Holbein glaze as I have occasionally heard it called.

A display makes an eye catching feature at Christmas and I know of several collectors who specialise in collecting particular shapes with all seriesware patterns; trivets being a popular theme and of course I collect pin trays as a few if you know.
Typically rack plates are the most easily found items, and this is also the case with this rare pattern.

A super rack plate with an illustrative border.

Royal Doulton’s Gaffers seriesware

An early publicity booklet for the Gaffers pattern.

This quaint series certainly belongs to a different age although the dialect is still associated with the wonderful people of Somerset.

A catalogue page illustrating some if the styles available ca.1924.

The leaflet pictured above comes with a vivid description of his life and routine, even explaining some of his typically ‘Zummerset’ sayings!

The pattern was introduced in 1921 and being popular remained in production until WWII.


A Gaffers ash tray.

There were some 19 different scenes available, designed by the great C. J. Noke and typically bearing his signature; he  had a particular interest in all things literary and other personalities from English heritage.

A large milk jug with scene 1 on it.

The reverse of the same jug with the inscription ‘GAFFERS I be all the way from Zummerset’.

The character, the Gaffer, derives his name from respect as it refers to either an older man or master, not the more common term today for a boss.


A typical 12″ rack plate.

The Gaffer is seen in his typical smock of brown holland or hand-made linen, with either an umbrella or knobbly stick in his hand.


A Gaffers tea cup and saucer.


Collecting Doulton Queensware

Queensware tea caddy

Queensware has been described as the perfect partner to Doulton’s famous Kingsware. The method if decorating is exactly the same as that for Kingsware, but the body is an ivory colour.

Micawber jug minus stopper.

During it’s production it proved less popular than Kingsware, and as with all rarities is much sought after by collectors, especially those in Australia.
The exact introduction date of Queensware is not known although the first reference to it by Doulton was in 1932, however there is a Hogarth jug D5173 from 1931.

Queensware Parson Brown.

Just as Kingsware, Queensware can be found in whiskey flasks, tablewares and other novelties.

Doulton’s Mandarin ware


Doulton’s popular Mandarin ware falls into two broad categories. The first like the pictures above and below has an almost seriesware feel but features much painting around a transfer pattern. 

Typically prunus and flamingos feature on this first type of mandarin ware.

The second is much more delicate and feature lustred poppies generally against a blue background. As with many Doulton wares the shapes of vases used really distinguish this second type of Mandarin ware.


I once came across a Sung version of this type of Mandarin vase and it was exquisite as you can see. Both types of Mandarin ware are much sought after today and pieces are quickly snapped up by collectors.


A rare Sung version of the Mandarin poppy design. 

Both types of Mandarin ware are difficult to find today and production certainly ceased by the 1930’s.

A recent find in the poppy design from the 1920’s.

Collecting Doulton Holbein ware

Around the turn of the 20th Century there were many exciting introductions at Doulton’s Burslem studios, many the brainchildren of the famous Charles Noke.


Holbein ware is a typical example of Noke’s experimentation with glazes. Holbein wares give the impression of old masters through the use of yellow, green and brown slip on a cream earthenware body. Portraits on these vases were typically by Harry Tittensor and Walter Nunn among others.

Incidentally this name of ware was also given to a series of items including candlesticks and oil lamp bases modelled in an art nouveau style but not bearing any portrait!


Further Holbein pieces not featuring portraits but rather nocturnal animals including owls also appear.


This ware had a special backstamp but it was not always used, creating certain confusion about this particular ware. This ware should not be confused with Rembrandt ware.

L-R Holbein vase, Rembrandt vase and Holbein


Collecting Doulton Spanish wares

This technique introduced around 1890 offers something for every collector, with simple to elaborate designs and with prices to match!


The Spanish ware technique consisted mainly of flowers outlined in raised gilt. Examples of handpainting and transfer printing can be found on this ware, although the general rule of thumb for collectors is the more elaborate the more likely it is that it is an artist piece.


The body used on this ware was often Vellum, just like the small range of figures developed in the late 19th Century. The gilding on this particular ware is exceptional and the styles of vases etc…were equally elaborate and often featured dragons.


This method of decoration was often used on high end tablewares, and cabinet sets like the one below were particularly popular with this decoration.


Prices for Spanish ware correspond to how elaborate the piece is and there are many avid collectors of this ware around the world.


Spanish ware production ceased sometime around the outbreak of WWI in 1914.

Collecting Doulton postcards


I always say Doulton, unlike any other pottery has something for every collector and here is another theme to collect – postcards.

Doulton produced or rather had printed postcards to advertise a number of their wares such as serieswares, Lambeth wares and also figures.


Some postcards, like the two illustrated for seriesware are works of art in their own right and can stand along side pieces of actual seriesware in a display.


I have not found many advertising figures but this one for the Beggar’s Opera series is a favourite.


Postcards were produced not only to sell items but to re-enforce Doulton as a world player in the pottery market. Here is a great postcard advertising their Lambeth showrooms.


In recent times postcards were produced for the old visitor centre at Nile St. Burslem featuring their artists at work as well as displays and prized museum pieces.

Postcards featuring Doulton were also popular and I have a series of birthday cards featuring Doulton items. Here is a postcard from Glasgow featuring their famous Doulton fountain.


Whatever your interest in Doulton you are bound to find some derivative such as postcards to enhance your collection!

Doulton artist profile – Henri Boullemier


Henri as his name suggests was of French descent and he and his brother followed in their famous fathers’ footsteps with their chosen profession as high end porcelain painters.
All three worked at Minton at one point in the late 1800’s and the two sons’s style was very much influenced by their father who at Minton worked with other of his countrymen including the famous Solon. The father had previously worked for Sèvres.
Henri worked for a very short period probably on a freelance basis for Doulton in the first years of the twentieth century and thus examples of his exceptional work are very rare. Typically his work featured on service and dessert plates and featured cherubs, children and classical portrait heads like the example pictured.
Any work by Henri Boullemier is exceptionally rare and pieces seldom appear on the secondary market.