Collecting Doulton rabbits and hares.

  
Mary Bunnykins (1939) who bears a striking resemblance the the earlier lop earred rabbit below. 

There are stories of a school age Charles Noke borrowing clay from the Worcester factory, a favourite visiting place for his father, to model animals and it was Noke who started the HN animal collection at Burslem. 

  
Lop earred rabbit and hare in a black glaze. 

There are many hare and rabbit models to collect, with many of them also found in flambé. These early models generally ceased production in all colourways -natural, flambé or other – by the mid 20th Century but a handful including the small lop earred rabbit continued to the end of the 20th Century so if collecting it is essential to read up on production dates to gauge the prices you should be paying. 

  
Very unusual rabbit and young. A larger version was made of this model as often happened at Lambeth, intended to be a garden ornament. 

The rabbit and the hare have a strong history in myth and folklore, stemming back through their apparent 4000 year history – explaining mankind’s on-going love of these furry animals. Today the rabbit in particular is still a popular domestic pet. 

  
Two further versions of the Hare HN 126 & HN 273.

The Chinese believe the hare or rabbit is ‘the man in the moon’ whilst Taoist beliefs say that these lovable animals derive their essence from the moon! Perhaps it is their nocturnal habits that have led to these beliefs! 

Doulton animals offer collectors -old and new – a great scope for building a collection for the HN animal collection continued into the post war period up until the 1980’s with new introductions throughout those years and in the 1990’s there was a new range -the DA range of animals introduced. Even today Doulton produce the occasional animal. 

Doulton figure painter T. J. Parton.

I would like to have called this piece one of our artist profile blogs but details on this particular artist remain sketchy. It was thought that he joined the small team of figure painters at Doulton in or around 1930, but the discovery of the plate below dates his arrival at Nile St to 1928 or earlier.


Handpainted plate by T. Parton dated 5.28.

The artists monogram ‘TJP’ can be found on figures from 1930 through to 1940 but I am sure there are later examples out there. In 1927 there were 10 figure painters recorded at Nile St and Tom, I feel,  must have been one of these early artists. We must remember that even by 1939 there were apparently only 27 painters in the figure department! I recently found a long service record from 1973, which lists Tom with 46 years service as an on-glaze figure painter meaning that he joined in 1927 and was among the easiest figure team of 10! Interestingly there is also a Norman Parton with 42 years service, perhaps a younger brother of Tom’s?


TJP figures Joan (1930) and Toinette (1940). 

It is quite typical to find figure painters showing great versatility and examples of vases and such heavily gilded plates have been found by other early figure painters including Reg Brown and John Pierpoint.

Collecting Doulton exclusives for W.T.Lamb.

The Distillers W. T. Lamb & sons like many other firms commissioned exclusive designs from Doulton to supply as commemoratives or in the case of Lamb’s as Christmas Presents. 

This large size jug measuring 8.5″ features the head of Bacchus with appropriate vinery decorating the sides and bearing the initials of the company and the date 1929.

  
  
In total there have been 5 Doulton items found that were produced for W. T. Lamb including an early jug, a typical 1920’s comport, the above tankard, a fire-well or well head and this vase, probably a design by Vera Huggins and dated 1928. 

  
 These dated pieces date from 1927 through to Christmas 1931.

Other conpanies to Doulton also produced wares for Lambs including Poole but there are certainly other Doulton items out there to be found! 

Collecting Harry Rowntree’s rare Doulton designs.

Harry Rowntree,illustrator, hailed from New Zealand where he also trained as a lithographer. Rowntree subsequently moved to England but struggled for a time until commissioned to illustrate a children’s animal book with which he found his forté and of course great success!  

 

Rowntree’s designs of animals and particularly birds are instantly recognisable and whilst his illustrative work was prolific his Doulton designs are very hard to find! The vase dates to 1921-3 whilst the pin tray is D4430 c.1924. 

Doulton’s craftsmen gilders.

Few Doulton collectors today will be familiar with the names Thomas Morton, William Massey or William Skinner, however, they played an important role in the early 20th Century history of Royal Doulton as its three leading gilders.


A Titanian bowl with gold and silver gilding.

These three craftsmen worked under the legendary Robert Allen, who led one of Doulton’s Burslem art studios and was father to Harry Allen too. Harry’s name will be forever linked to Titanian wares because of his many finely painted birds and other subjects on this ware.


A view of the interior of the bowl.

The bowl illustrated is most unusual due to the use of gold and silver and alas is not signed by the gilder, but fortunately the RA number on the reverse dates it to the period of WWI, right at the start of Doulton’s short production of fine Titanian ware.

These master gilders would typically re-create on china the elaborate designs by Robert Allen, such as the design on this bowl.

A quick guide to dating Doulton’s Dickens figures! 

Leslie Harradine’s collection of Dickens miniature figures still bring collectors much joy although they have been out of production since the early 1980’s. 

Collectors tend to focus their collecting on either the early bone china models with their thinner bases or else those made in earthenware after 1949 with their deeper bases.

However there are a few tips to dating the early models that I thought I would share. 

  
This is the earliest stamp with simply the word Doulton printed in an arc.

  

This is the second mark from the late 1920’s. A second version of this can be dated to after 1930 when the names of the figures were also included.

  

Finally a post 1949 example with standard Doulton mark. 

To finish here are three examples of Micawber: an early 1920’s example on a marble tray, the unusual Woodall Duckham commemorative from 1930 and Harradine’s original model for the study. You can see the thickness of the base increasing steadily even between the early 1920 example and the 1930 example. 

 

Collecting Doulton’s early fledglings! 

  
Two flambe fledglings, the darker one on the left dating to c.1913.

Introduced at the start of the HN range apparently just in flambe originally, these sweet baby birds are a super set to collect as variation after variation can be found, creating a colourful collection. 

  
Three characteristically colourful fledglings including the very rare lustre version on the right. 

Of course the term fledgling refers to baby birds and here is a group known as Thrushes (on left) and Fledglings on the right.

  
Whilst there are only a handful of models to collect the various colour schemes used mean that you may never finish collecting them all and the hunt could go on and on beyond the recorded versions! 

  
A group illustrating the ‘usual’ colourings : plain yellow, yellow with black highlights and blue and yellow.