Doulton’s First World War Commemorative to the WAAC! 

  Along with what we might term war themed commemoratives from WWI Doulton also produced this charming two scene series in 1919 featuring a WAAC and her beaus – one English and one australian! 

The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) were formed to free up valuable and experienced soldiers from behind the front, for front line service. As part of the mobilisation of the whole country this milestone in the push for equal rights formed the basis for women’s service in the British Army to this day.

This rare series clearly had a short production run and I have only once seen the alternate version with the ‘lanky’ English soldier as opposed to the dashing Australian one pictured!

As for shapes – I have only seen this size of pin tray with this series on it! 

A humorous reflection back to a terrible war. 

A look back at Royal Doulton’s Bathers Collection. 

Never have a group of figures so captured collectors’ imaginations and for so long, as Leslie Harradine’s wonderful creations from the 1920’s and 1930’s! 

The Bather HN 687 (1924-1943).

Moreover this statement applies more than any to his deco ladies – be they nude, bathers or otherwise lounging in what we today think of as an art deco style. 

Lido Lady HN 1220 (1927-1936).

In 2000 Royal Doulton asked Nada Pedley to re-model four of Harradine’s classic deco ladies – the Bather, the Swimmer, Sunshine Girl and Lido Lady. Each was issued in a Limited edition of 2000 pieces and came with a Certificate of Authenticity. 

Sunshine Girl HN 4245.

Whilst each of the original figures was available in a selection of colourways the ones chosen for the new series were deemed to be the most classic colourways that collectors today would most appreciate owning. 

The Swimmer HN 1270 (1928-by 1938).

Indeed unless one has exceedingly deep pockets, many of these original studies are beyond the reach of most collectors – myself included! 

The Swimmer HN 4246.

Nada’s faithful interpretation of these early figures means that they stand alongside the originals without standing out too much. Naturally the methods of decoration over the years changed; such as the number of firings figures originally received to achieve their depth of colouring,  also the techniques and styles of face painting and of course the number of parts that make up each model giving them the refinement we associate with early figures. 

Regardless of their relative modernity these new figures are true modern day collectibles in their own right – and when you consider the total scarcity of Sunshine Girl for example one can understand their appeal! 

Royal Doulton’s ‘Arabian Nights’ seriesware design.

  We have looked at several patterns of late, but this is one of a large group inspired by literature.

Introduced in 1909 there are some 13 designs to collect with a trio of borders to them; the most usual being the ivy border and the rarest the ‘Japanese’ border that I have only had once on a rack plate.

The designs featured are of course based on the many stories contained in The Thousand and One Nights or as we know it the Arabian Nights. 

Ali Baba is a particularly common theme among the designs produced, as well as several more general titles including ‘Preparing for the Feast’.

This colourful series makes an impressive display and also a successful backdrop for many of Doulton’s Arabian figures such as The Cobbler or Abdullah.


Doulton figures – made to order! 

You read it correctly! Once there was a time when you could order your favourite model in a colourway of your choice – to suit your interior colour scheme or else in the same palette as another figure you cherished.

Victorian Lady HN 1529 and two complimentary colourways of Sweet Anne and Miss Demure.

Such was the case with the Sweet Anne and Miss Demure pictured who are painted in the same style as Victorian Lady HN 1529, and both of which also carry that same HN number to their bases!  The bases of the two complimentary figurines. 

Both models as you can see were not only painted in the same year but also by the same artist so you can imagine my surprise when I recently came across the version of Miss Demure and more so when I realised the identical artist and date code! Interestingly the actual models were both produced in early 1937 too (one in January and the other February)! So they must have been part of the same order. Once more Doulton proves you never do know what to expect!

Collecting Doulton’s identical miniature figures! 

Doulton’s early range of miniature figures or M series as it is known offers collectors an additional element to their collection – for if you have the large figure, why not hunt down the miniature as well, or alternatively if space is at a premium, collect just the miniature!  

 Chloe HN 1765 and M 10.

The most popular figures from the HN collection can be found in a miniature size although as always some are much harder to trace and thus carry a premium; thus a miniature Pierette will always outshine a Victorian Lady for example. 

Victorian Ladies HN 728 & 1345 with M 25 & M 2.

However, the pleasure of collecting often means that we concentrate on a particular theme – this one being identical colourways to the ‘grown up’ versions of figures. 

Veronica HN 1517 and M 64.

Many we can predict having been produced such as Victorian Lady, Veronica or even Chloe. All of whom were produced in a rainbow of  M series colourways too that had no corresponding large size partner. 

Little Bridesmaid HN 1434 and M 30.

The M range began in 1932 although there are several miniature designs pre-dating this date and which were typically given an HN number, yet, four models bear no HN at all (Pierette, Chelsea Pensioner, Spook and Robert Burns). 

Patricia HN 1431 and M 28.

As you would expect there are many versions of M figures that do not have corresponding large size partners and these too make a distinct display when shown all together! 

Rosamund HN 1497 and M 33.

The M series of miniature lady and child figures ceased around the end of the Second World War, but realistically would have stopped long before that date, save for a handful of the most popular models such as Paisley Shawl M4 that continued briefly after the war. The M series continued in spirit although the M number was omitted with the small size Dickens figures that were made up to the 1980’s. 

Royal Doulton’s Roadshow figurines.

Between 1992 and 2007, 13 special figures were produced for collectors to purchase exclusively at Doulton’s Roadshow events. The choice for the majority of figures certainly came from those most popular among collectors and which had enjoyed many years of popularity among collectors, in particular the dancing ladies so lovingly created by Peggy Davies. 
Ninette HN 3417 and Lynne HN 3740.

As well as special backstamps in gold, these figures were issued with certificates of authenticity but otherwise they were issued in Doulton’s standard blue figure boxes of the time. 
The figures in the Roadshow series were:

Ninette HN 3417 (1992)

Victoria HN 3416 (1992)

Maria HN 3381 (1993)

Thinking of you HN 3490 (1993)

Pauline HN 3643 (1994)

Elaine HN 3741 (1995)

Jacqueline HN 3689 (1995)

Lynne HN 3740 (1995)

Stephanie HN 3759 (1996)

First Bloom HN 3913 (1997)

Lauren HN 3872 (1997)

Samantha HN 4043 (1998)

Holly HN 5065 (2007)

As you can see there were often multiple figures each year and there was almost a decade’s gap between the penultimate and the last figure. 

 The great thing for collectors about these figures is the added detail in the painting that is so evident in the majority of pieces from Peggy Davies’ classic pretty ladies to the last figure by Valerie Annand and they stand out so well from the crowd in displays! Their time limited production makes them much more unusual than their main HN collection counterparts and some were even limited edition pieces such as Holly who was produced in a tiny number of 100 pieces! 

Collecting Doulton’s “solid colour” animals.

The early years of the 20th century were a time of great experimentation at Doulton’s Burslem studio and these early animal figures in block colours belong to that period.

 A group of popular early animals in single colour glazes.

Only the earliest animals seem to appear in these flat one-colour versions and judging from the backstamps I have seen they ceased being produced like this by 1930.

 Collie in a tan colourway. 

Whilst they may not appeal to all collectors the one tone colouring gives them a sculpted feel, no doubt the original intention behind the idea. These unusual animals can be found in either matt or typical glossy glaze and bear no other information but the model number impressed into the base.

 ‘Tomato red’ penguins and rhino with a tan hare. 

As I repeatedly say with Doulton – expect the unexpected! The rhinoceros illustrated above was a find just the other day and is such an early and rare model to find!