These sprightly, mythical creatures of many a folklore were immortalised by the great Leslie Harradine for the HN collection in 1930, but interest in all things ‘fairy’ had reached a fever pitch a decade before with the so-called Cottingley fairies; a series of 5 photographs of fairies taken by two young cousins and heralded by Arthur Conan Doyle (author of the Sherlock Holmes stories) as evidence of their existence. Alas the cousins would admit eventually that all but the fifth was faked and that, it has been suggested, was probably the result of a double exposure by the young girls.
Doulton produced at least 7 different figures of fairies from standing with wings, to perched on toadstools to simply hiding in the undergrowth. Each is a charming study of childhood and many were available with differing flowers and even different colourways during their short production in the 1930’s. Certainly the second and sixth versions are the same child as ‘Boy on Pig’ HN1369 attributed to CJ Noke rather than Harradine. There are a further 6 fairies listed but which did not go into production.
Doulton’s Fairies HN1396 and HN1375 were even modelled after the fairy illustrations of Cicely Mary Barker that remain popular to this day.
A display of these figures really is magical, however, tracking them down is just as elusive as finding the real thing…or so it seems!