Doulton’s Frank Butler – a versatile artist.


A chance find of this impressive pair of vases by Frank Butler reminded me of what a great talent he was. Never more so than when one considers that he was reported to be practically deaf and almost dumb.


Yet, over an almost 40 year period, his output of stoneware certainly changed reflecting a versatile, confident ability.
His particular flair for me is his art nouveau work, in particular his vases where the clay appears ‘pushed out’ as in the example below.


Whatever our individual tastes, it is impossible to reject this great talent!


Doulton’s watchers of the night.

The watchman was certainly a popular character when it comes to seriesware from the early 20th Century.

Watchman seriesware jug.

Interestingly the designs are among the first registered Seriesware D numbers and still more interesting is that some were registered as early as 1882 before D numbers were introduced as a means of labelling patterns for giftware.

Wash Set.

These early scenes could vary from the simple jug to the elaborate wash set pictured, with the added wording “Watchmen, what of the night?”

2 sizes of Kingsware flask.

The image of the Watchman appears too on early items of Kingsware from 1902, not just on jugs but also a very rare clock case with art nouveau decoration too. The flasks with his modelled head are particularly good! For further information on Kingsware please see Jocelyn Lukins’ book on the subject.

Also of interest is the history behind the Watchmen, who were precursors to what we know as policemen today. An affectionate nickname for them was ‘Charley’ after the then monarch, Charles II, and of course this is where the name Old Charley comes from in terms of Character Jugs and their derivatives that are do popular today!

Publicity photograph ca.1939.

Old Charley D5420 was one of the original jugs from 1934 and spawned a range of derivatives from wall pockets, to toby jugs, to ashtrays, ash bowls, teapots and other items!

3 derivative sugar bowls.

Whatever your preference a display of Watchmen items makes a great focal point!

Collecting Doulton flambé with silver overlay.

Collectors often have to do a double take when they eventually do come across early Doulton flambé vases and other small objects that have been given a silver overlay, for so little is known of these pieces.

A typical early flambé shaped vase with silver overlay.

From what I have been able to discover, Doulton supplied the American firm Gorham with the ‘bare’ flambé pieces, for their in-house artists to apply a silver overlay to; typically of art nouveau design.
The US firm Gorham, founded in 1831, had strong links with Doulton until 1963 via employees, although the use of silver overlay seems to have been limited to the early 20th Century.
These extravagant art nouveau designs were originally available in the US market alone so rarely turn up here in the UK. However, it is possible to find flambé finished with silver tops and rims, usually tea wares and vases, here in the UK and typically by the prestigious firm George Betjemann.
Perhaps you own examples of this type of flambé? If so why not share a picture on our Facebook page ‘Doulton Collectors Club’?

An unusual Peggy Davies figure.


I thought I’d share this little study of a boy by Peggy Davies. It is marked simply ‘Clay Craft’ to the base, a company she ran in the 1940’s-50’s I believe. Interestingly there was a Doulton version of the same figure so I imagine either he was presented to Doulton in the red colourway and prototypes were made or else rejected by Doulton and Peggy used the design herself.

The Doulton version and a young girl too, both sold at Louis Taylor in 2005.

An interesting piece anyway and it goes to show you never know what is waiting around the corner!

A closer look at Leslie Harradine’s figure Jacqueline.

Here are three versions of the hard to find figure Jacqueline. Designed by the great Leslie Harradine, Jacqueline was available as HN2000 and HN2001 between 1947-1951.


The red is a new find, a colourway, with ‘HA3’ to it’s base telling us that it was painted by Harry Allen and this is colourway 3. Presumably 1 and 2 were the two colourways produced in pink and blue pictured either side of her.
Jacqueline is model 1234 telling us that whilst she was introduced in 1947, she would have been modelled in ca.1942. I have versions of models 1230 (Christmas Morn) and 1231 (a prototype similar to Easter Day) dated 1942, so we can date the model quite closely.


The part of collecting that I find most interesting is often the story behind the piece. Although I have not found a pictorial inspiration for Jacqueline there is still plenty to be researched as you can hopefully see above.

The ‘metamorphosis’ of Leslie Harradine’s The Proposal!

Not exactly a total re-incarnation but as we know from a look at similar figures a while ago, several of Harradine’s early figures were later adapted and re-introduced into the HN range.

The Proposal HN715 from 1925.

Just like figures including The Windmills Lady who became The Lavender Seller or Sweet Maid who transformed into Millicent, so too did The Proposal HN715 who became this fantastic figurine, Teresa HN1682 and HN1683 in 1935.

Teresa in both colourways.

The addition of a table and some props creates a really different lady!

Perhaps you have noticed other such transformations? Why not share them in our Facebook group ‘Doulton Collectors Club’!

Peggy Davies’ early hand modelled figures.


During Peggy’s earliest years with Doulton she produced a handful of hand modelled figures, in 18th Century dress.
The group above, I have seen three other times with subtle variations such as the items on the ground including a monkey or a bird cage. The figures too can have slight variations to their dress including longer sleeves on the gent or differences to his collar.
In the WMODA in Miami you can see two other figures hand modelled by Peggy, again girls in 18th Century dress.
All in all these pieces are of huge importance in the history of Doulton figures and also the story of Peggy Davies.
The three other versions were all sold through Phillips/Bonhams as part of the Doulton Reserve sales.
Here is one such example, with uniquely, elaborate decoration!

(Courtesy of Bonhams)

The WMODA exhibition ‘A flair for fashion’.

I’ve just had some extra pictures of the current exhibition at the WMODA housed at the Gallery of Amazing Things that I thought would interest us all!
The sheer breadth of exhibits is to be marvelled but for me it is the massive array of Doulton wares that interests me most!
Here are a few pictures of the figures currently on display as part of the Flair for Fashion exhibition! Enjoy!!

For further information visit –






Royal Doulton’s ‘new style’ figures (from1936).

At the British Industries Fair of 1936, Doulton’s exhibit dew favourable reviews from all corners. New lines in tablewares and shapes, new animal studies including a new tiger and also a selection of new figures were introduced to the public.


Among these new figures was The Coming of Spring, which was singled out for praise. Indeed this new figure was described as evidence of further development in connection with the range of ‘Royal Doulton Figures’. Moreover it was felt that this large model by Leslie Harradine captured the modern spirit, without conveying ‘the idea of a continental flavour’ and it was heralded as one of the smartest conceptions in figures that has ever emanated from the Doulton factory!


Examples of this large figure are rare today, no doubt due to the costs involved in her production as she would surely be part of what we call the Prestige Range today.
A simplified ‘sister’ figure is Celia, also by Harradine.


Doulton’s fluttering butterflies.

The Camberwell Beauty tile panel.

Since Victorian times butterflies have been a popular collecting field; from actual examples, to jewellery, to pottery – examples can be readily found.
As a follower of fashion it is no surprise to find many examples of butterflies throughout Doulton’s many ranges. Some of the earliest can be found on their Faience ware produced at Lambeth and this body and style of decoration perfectly suits the beauty of these fragile creatures!

Above and below a vase and detail by Frances Linnell dated 1877.

On the larger size is the famous Camberwell Beauty (above) which even today decorates the side of a building in Camberwell, London. On the smaller size are the Lambeth vases decorated with Butterflies under the pattern number X8725 and this charming bibelot by Harry Simmeon (often mistakenly attributed to Mark Mashshall) that I have in my own collection.


There are also an array of Burslem butterflies to collect – from floating flower bowl clips which can be found mounted on stumps too, to brooches, to tea wares, to serieswares.

Three Butterfly clips for bowls and vases ca.1920.

Detail of a seriesware pattern that was also used in art wares from the Robert Allen studio.

For me the most wonderful Butterfly created by Doulton was the stylish figure of a girl in a butterfly costume designed by Leslie Harradine from 1925 and available in 5 colourways.

Harradine’s Butterfly HN719.

This figure was inspired by a costume design as Jocelyn and I originally revealed in our book Reflections. Another Butterfly is of course Harradine’s Fairy HN1324 with her butterfly wings!

A favourite Fairy butterfly of mine.

In more recent times Doulton was keen to revisit past successes and so we have Peter Gee’s lovely figure Isadora and also the Prestige Butterfly Ladies Collection by the wonderful Valerie Annand.