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.