Royal Doulton’s eastern delights!

The Cobbler HN542 dated 1925.

Back in the early years of the 20th Century there was great fascination with the ‘exotic East’ most of which had only just entered the consciousness of many people.

An early colourway of The Mendicant dated 1929.

This fascination by the public en mass no doubt explains the success of the musical play Chu Chin Chow. It opened in 1916 just as the HN Collection too was still being established, thus it is no surprise to find many examples of figures inspired by the east in the collection.

A colourway of Abdullah dated 1930.

The main character, The Cobbler, was himself immortalised into the collection by Noke himself!

The base of The Cobbler showing his original factory label.

The popularity of Chu Chin Chow is illustrated by this menu card from 1924, which heralded the return of Doulton’s sales manager from his Australasian tour, much like the tours Michael Doulton does today in his role as ambassador for the Doulton brand. In the menu it sets out the toasts to be made, together with songs to be performed during the dinner that included the Cobbler’s Song from Chu Chin Chowperformed by Jack Noke, Charles’ son who would eventually take over as Art Director at Burslem. Interestingly the cover is also signed by various attendees including Charles Noke.

Two views of the menu card mentioned.


Doulton produced several other eastern inspired figures including The Mendicant, The Potter, The Emir and of course the prestige piece The Moor.

An unusual pair of bookends mounted with The Mendicant colourway (pictured above) and version 2 of Noke’s The Cobbler.

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