No one today can doubt that Leslie Harradine perfected what needed to be perfected in terms of creating commercially popular figures for Royal Doulton. Until 1920 few figures hitherto introduced can be said to have had the popularity we associate with Doulton figures to this day. Of course there was the ever popular HN1 Darling – the first figure in the collection and the first of many child studies, but there were no what non-Doulton specialists might term ‘pretty ladies’. The female studies introduced before 1920 tended to be sculptural and their differing sizes hindered their grouping to display them as a collection. In short a house style needed to be developed.
Harradine’s first introduction for the HN collection was The Princess – a dramatically stylish creation that set the tone for his first models for Charles Noke. Note the clear lines and unfussy detail – this is what set him and his models apart.
A colourway of The Princess.
A small group of other non typical Doulton figures were introduced in the following year, 1921 illustrating Harradine’s ability to interpret popular tastes and trends.
A group of early Harradine models, Fruit Gathering, Puff & Powder, Betty and Contentment.
Size was the most noticeable difference with Harradine’s figures as they diminished in size to what we even today are used to in terms of figure height, and this more standard size allowed collectors to create displays.
Harradine’s first series of figures from the Beggar’s Opera all illustrate this point and thus a house style was developed – something that would prove most successful among collectors whose appetite for figures is still going strong over 100 years later.