Doulton’s blossoming beauties!

Of the many collecting themes based around colour that are so popular with collectors today, there is a particularly beautiful theme that is not quite as obvious. This being the group of figures with floral decoration to their dresses, cloaks and skirts. Only when looking at our own collections do we often realise that we have several examples in this style in our own collections – perhaps you have others we can add to this picture? I’m sure you’ll agree they make a stunning group! My personal favourites are those on Leslie Harradine’s figures.


Collecting Doulton’s galloping gals!


Collecting ‘themes’ is something we look at sporadically but often it is only on reflection that we – or should I say I – realise that we already have a sub-theme already in our collections. This was certainly the case with these Doulton ladies in riding costume!


I have to admit that I don’t have them displayed as a group, but that is simply because they have been gathered over time and they’ve ‘slotted’ in as and where I can! However, I did find that I had one of my favourites, the Hunts Lady, standing ironically next to a fox!


Perhaps I’ll find somewhere to have them as a group now, next time I move things around!

Collecting Doulton Christening Cups.

A selection of Christening cups made at Lambeth from the 19th Century – early 20th Century.

When I first saw these cups due to be auctioned this weekend, I was reminded once again of the diversity of Doulton, but also the diversity of collectors too! Here once again is a novel collecting theme!


The Christening cup is a typical Christening gift for a baby and whilst more well-to-do families may have chosen silver examples, these personalised stoneware cups were no doubt more modestly priced in comparison. These mini works of art have obviously been cherished over the decades and remain as evidence of their original owners. How wonderful would it be to trace the original owners?


Many thanks to the Potteries Auctions for use of these photos from their sale on Sunday 26th October.

Royal Doulton’s Alchemists.

Sung and Chang catalogues featuring an alchemist figure.

Since the earliest times of Doulton’s art studios in Burslem, we have seen a procession of objects reflecting our continued fascination with alchemy.

A Kingsware Alchemist jug.

A fantastic Sung Alchemist style plaque sold at Bonhams.

Be it the search for the fabled philosopher’s stone, the elixir of life or the ability to turn base metals into gold – the slightest possibility that these may be possible has kept us gripped, as we can trace from literature’s fascination with it too from Shakespeare’s plays right up to J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.

The Alchemist from the HN Collection.

Another portrayal of an Alchemist on an art nouveau Holbein vase.

Doulton’s 1930’s glamour girls.

After the roaring twenties, the 1930’s developed into a decade of glamour where long, sleek lines and Hollywood glamour took over. Whilst Doulton continued to produced the Victorian style ladies, characters and child studies so favoured by collectors, there were a distinct group of glamour girls which were introduced as a nod to this change in style.


Two of the first introduced, also happen to be two favourites of mine – Clothilde and Gloria, who appear to have stepped straight out if the pages of a glossy fashion magazine.

Hats have always been a popular theme for collectors, so it is no surprise to see Windflower here with her contemporary brimmed hat.


Another hat girl is Nadine, who could be promenading along a boardwalk in the evening sun, lapping up attention from her would-be admirers.


Still other ladies seem to represent popular sports such as the stylish Maureen with her riding crop.


Another favourite figure of mine is this, The Mirror, with her chic dressing gown, admiring her reflection in her mirror. She is such a delicate figure it is not hard to see why so few have survived.


A final figure that I’d like to share is the stunning Lambeth Walk, shown dancing to the famous tune of the same name. Her clothes are the epitome of 1930’s chic and this colourway of her is so detailed.


Doulton’s Shakespeare ware

From what I have discovered there appears to be two types of Shakespeare ware. The later pieces with scenes from the famous playwright and poets works, produced to commemorate the 350th anniversary of his birth in 1564. Then there is also this series pictured.


This tyg is decorated with a relief portrait of Shakespeare and then his house in Stratford and Ann Hathaway, his wife’s cottage. The tyg dates to 1905 and carries a date letter, as well as a registration number for this period.
A nice commemorative for literature fans!

Another chance find, tells an important part of the Doulton story!


Back in the early 1880’s John Slater, the first Doulton art director at Burslem was searching for an English china body for Doulton wares. The issue was exasperated by a substantial order from the US for a service provided it was on a china rather than earthenware body. During Slater’s search for a china body, he spent time in France where he met the celebrated ceramic painter of birds, Georges Léonce. This meeting led to a wager between the two as to whether Léonce could produce the same colours on an English china body. The result was Slater’s payment of £50 to Léonce, yet there was a complaint; namely that the plates were not signed. Léonce responded that the signature “was all over. There is no man who can paint birds like Léonce.”


This plate is a combination of Slater’s photographic transfer technique and hand painting on an earthenware body dated 1883, shortly after the originals were painted. The existing parts of the Léonce service are now in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

Doulton artist profile – Joseph Birbeck snr.


Another sighting recently was this plate from a fish service painted by the celebrated ceramic artist Joseph Birbeck snr, a member of the distinguished family of artists. Famed for his versatile ability, he is perhaps most famous for his game and fish, the latter often portrayed underwater. Here is a plate from 1909 with a view of a leaping salmon.


An interesting Kingsware Loving Cup.


Another chance find- this Kingsware loving cup from 1905 complete with sterling silver mounts and standing an impressive 13″ tall. No doubt made to commemorate England’s new monarch Edward VII, who succeeded his mother Queen Victoria to the throne in 1901. The cup is emblazoned with the motto “Here’s a health unto his Majesty”. The cup was later adapted to a jug in 1936, to commensurate the approaching coronation of Edward VIII, that of course never happened due to his abdication. This flask version was made for Dewars in a limited edition of 600.


The magnificence of the loving cup has to be seen in the flesh to be appreciated. Certainly the detail is much more vivid than in the later flask, the latter is also missing the cameo image of the Cavalier.


Interestingly the sterling silver mounts are stamped G B & S, for George Betjeman & sons, a prestigious London silversmiths, who commissioned many Doulton Burslem pieces including a Kingsware spirit barrel with tavern scene, Kingsware tobacco jars including the large pipe that can be found and smaller Kingsware ash trays – all with sterling silver mounts supplied by them. In addition to Kingsware, they also commissioned Shagreen items from Doulton for their exclusive store too.

An Amazing Adventure – Part 2


Continuing my look back at last Saturday’s talk, here are a few more choice items from the selection that I took along. The premise of the talk was ‘My Collection’.
In this section the theme was the development of figures, so I took the art nouveau, square Harradine vase along so as to discuss Harradine’s roll but also the links with Doulton from his time as an apprentice modeller, to the period 1910-14 when he supplied models to Lambeth on a freelance basis and finally how the link with Burslem was established with the introduction of his first figure into the HN Collection in 1920.
The first figure we looked at was Harradine’s original model for Micawber and we discussed the process and arrangement he had with Charles Noke.
Next up were the M series and these original boxes for them. Most of these M figures were of course based on Harradine’s larger models.
A popular theme for all figure collectors has always – well since HN1 – been children so I shared a few favourites from the Nursery figures set including a prototype in my collection.
Honey and her inspiration followed, a typical painting by Stanislaus Longley, who Harradine used repeatedly for inspiration. Interestingly this work was also used by the famous London store Liberty for a Christmas catalogue cover in the 1930’s – and that is also pictured.
This section was completed with a discussion on colourways and I shared a version of Clothilde that I have from 1937.

Next time I’ll share some Burslem art wares that we discussed!