These charming small size fonts are often mistaken for just that – a mini church font but they are in fact so called fire wells. It is hard to imagine their actual function in that the two illustrated measure a diminutive 8cm tall and the full size versions I have seen around 20cm.
They have been previously described as examples of Doulton advertising for themselves, but the Well Fire and Foundry Co was a company of yesteryear as you can see from this advert found on the Internet. These items for the company date to the 1920’s and 1930’s.
The darker of the two examples pictured above is an advertising piece for the Well Fire and Foundry Company Ltd and the base details options available.
The light green version in a matt glaze bears no indication of its use but simply the usual Doulton impressed mark, suggesting Doulton sold them too as fancies, or ashtrays, or indeed mini well fires!
Animals have always been a popular giftware line for Doulton’s with many animal models even pre-dating the first introductions to their famous HN figure range in 1913.
A Titanian vase featuring an owl – always a popular subject!
One particular animal that always has collectors clamouring for it is the owl – produced in many variations from character examples, to realistic interpretations!
A very unusual version of Granny Owl.
Even before the early HN animals, owls featured in many Doulton Lambeth works of art! The great Leslie Harradine modelled this vase for reproduction; ‘night and day’ shown here with the owl central to the night panel!
There are further examples by the likes of Simmeon and Pope of garden statuary…
…and of course this charming Bibelot…
…to this tooth pick holder…
….and even this wonderful biscuit or tobacco jar in the form of an owl!
Returning to the Burselm studio, owls featured frequently in Doulton’s hand painted wares and in particular their Titanian range such as this example…
…and there is also a charming seriesware pattern featuring owls to collect – although examples are hard to find!
Doulton’s owl studies from the Burselm studio can be found in unusual glazes from Flambé to Sung, although once again these are hard to come by today!
Rare flambé Owl and Owlet.
Perhaps my favourite example is this character owl ‘Granny Owl’ HN 187, wrapped up in her shawl and who perhaps explains their popularity as it embodies that romantic feel Doulton owls have and why collectors fight to own these delightful studies!