I thought I would share this picture of the three versions of The Little Bridesmaid as the final colourway HN1530 was not available for the last edition of Royal Doulton Figures in 1994. As is typically the case if you wait – sometimes for countless years – that one piece may turn up.
This popular figure remained in production as HN1433 until 1951 and keen eyes can easily distinguish earlier and later versions based on the depth of colour, the backstamp and face.
The elusive HN1530 belongs to a small group of figures with early HN1500 numbers including Pantalettes and Priscilla who were issued once again in complimentary orange colourways just like this Little Bridesmaid.
The yellow HN1434 is the earliest example in the picture above and you can hopefully see how the angle of her head differs to the other two. Alas her head is often prone to being knocked off! Making these three perfect examples all the more unusual!
No other area of Doulton offers more scope than the collecting of miniatures and Doulton’s Lambeth factory created the lion’s share of these miniatures.
Not including cruets, bird feeders, advertising items, inkwells, teawares and many other lines that were produced in a small scale, as you can see above there are numerous vases, flasks, containers, whimsies and other items that can be found in miniature.
Doulton’s famous Huntingwares, produced over many decades, are perhaps the most easily found but again many subtle variations exist. Brown, green, blue and metallic glazes can be found decorating them as in the picture below.
These items can be found with silver or plated silver mounts in a variety of shapes.
Other such applied patterns can also be found if you have a keen eye including a Willow design and the rare Naval reliefs.
Many of these miniatures were perfume bottles. Here on the left is one such example for the old London department store Jason Shoolbred & Co and these were stamped as such to their bases.
Naturally many typical art wares can be found in miniature like the vases and ewer above and there are some examples above including the Mark Marshall rabbit paperweight, again pictured above.
Other lines containing miniatures are the simulated wares such as blackjacks and also the many commemorative wares produced to mark events over the years. A particular favourite are the Nelson miniatures!
Perhaps you too collect miniatures, if so why not share a photograph on our Doulton Collectors Group Facebook page!
Thanks to Harvey’s Collectibles for the above picture of a pair of vases in their collection. Dating to 1900-02 they are not easy to find and I have seen the same pattern on a pink body only once before.
Interestingly they are from the Robert Allen studio at Burslem as is confirmed by the RA number to each of their bases. The numbers relate to design books and we are able to date items using these RA numbers.
Above and below are further examples of gilt silhouette flowers and foliage from the Robert Allen studio and date slightly earlier to the late 19th Century. The miniature vase below is more typically found in white and light blue rather than cobalt and gilt.
This final vase illustrated Doulton’s ability to change and adapt designs as this is usually found decorating toilet sets rather than gilded cobalt blue vases!
Back in the 1920’s Doulton produced a handful of so-called advertising figures such as Tsang Ihang here and also The Yardley’s group and the Perfect Pair made for the publishing house behind the Tatler and Eve magazine. There were other figures too but produced without HN numbers such as the Standing Beefeater for the Illustrated London News and of course the delightful Sketch Girl.
It took many decades to eventually track the original advert down featuring the Tsang Ihang lady, but fortunately we did just before the book Reflections was published. I see that someone online has used a black and white version of it we used as the end papers so I thought it time to show this coloured version. Naturally once one has been found others crop up too, which is the good thing about collecting so I am sure collectors will be able to track down their own copies to use in your their displays.
As you know I always love to discover the inspirations for our favourite Doulton figures. Here is another that didn’t make the final cut for Jocelyn’s and my book ‘Reflections’. It is itself a figurine but this time a wax figure by Agatha Walker that she produced as part of her series of figures from the stage in the 1920’s, imitating a popular tradition from the 19th Century. These figures were made of plaster, then coated in wax and finally painted.
Typically Harradine has put his own flourishes to the finished figure including a parasol and changing the direction of Anthea’s head.
Courtesy of Bonhams.
Courtesy of Seaway China.
To date I have found only one other Agatha Walker figure that Harradine used, but that’s for another time!
Whilst pictures and adverts provided much inspiration for Doulton’s modellers, real life and sometimes family life also played a role in inspiring them.
This delightful prototype of a girl by Peggy Davies has cropped up a handful of times and I understand that she is a childhood representation of an aunt who as a child was sent to Canada for adoption, but who was ultimately and happily returned to the family to care for. This is how Peggy saw her waiting to board the boat to Canada, dressed in her best and with her trunk.
The ever-popular Snowmen figures launched in 1985 and based upon the book and later film by Raymond Briggs provide an obvious theme for decorating the home.
Amongst the many figures produced to celebrate the snowman and his young human friend James, specific Christmas themed pieces have also appeared including Christmas Friends and even Christmas tree ornaments were produced in 1989.
Thanks again to Seaway China for the use of their photo library! 🎄
Christmas Surprise DB146.
As one would expect with such a universally popular product, Christmas is extensively celebrated in the Bunnykins series. Figures including Winter Lapland Bunnykins, Christmas Morning Bunnykins and even a Bunnykins Carol Singer musical box have been introduced and the series extends to include tree ornaments and even a festive tableau Merry Christmas DB194!
Father Christmas DB237.
Perhaps you have your own Doulton Christmas display? If so, why not share it in the Facebook group Doulton Collectors Club?
Thanks as always to Seaway Chiba for use of their pictures.
Any seriesware collector will be able to cite immediately the amazingly rare Christmas themed pieces for which they long for.
Three particularly sought after patterns found on miniatures are Christmas, Snow Scenes and Ice-Skating and these all command high prices no matter in which season they appear throughout the year.
Further patterns to look for include Snowflake, Coaching Days in a winter landscape and the very rare Snowscenes pattern that is decorated in low relief and usually features countryfolk making their way through the snow to their welcoming cottages.
….and three would be a crowd.
This charming prototype dating to around 1950, I first spotted just a couple of months ago having never seen the model before. At the time I took a picture to add to records, not expecting another version of her to crop up just a week ago!
Although in different colourways, both seem utterly charming and we can only guess as to why the model wasn’t put into production.
The model number dates her quite closely, only the modeller remains unknown. I feel personally that it is a Harradine piece due to the subject and looking at other figures around the same model number they are Harradine’s work. My only doubt is her small waist – a trait of Peggy Davies’.
One day hopefully we will once again be able to access the Doulton records to see if they shed any further light on this interesting figure!