Even today we are all aware of the work of Kate Greenaway be it as a book illustrator or artist. First introduced in 1976 with the figures Ruth, Carrie, Lori and Anna, and all skilfully modelled by the great Peggy Davies, the children in Royal Doulton’s Kate Greenaway Collection are based upon illustrations by Kate that she in turn based upon her own Victorian childhood and upbringing.
Born in 1846, Kate first came to the public’s attention with her illustrations for Christmas cards. Then following a series of successful water colour exhibitions, she wrote and illustrated her Under the Window children’s book.
The 18 children created by Doulton express the popularity she gave to bonnets, mop caps and high waisted children’s dresses with which she illustrated such famous books as The Birthday Book and Little Ann. Moreover, it was said at the time that she “dressed the children of two continents.” Reflecting her worldwide appeal.
Whilst the first 13 figures were modelled by Peggy between 1976-81 with annual introductions between these dates, it would be Pauline Parsons who completed the set between 1982-4 with five more children. The series was finally withdrawn at the end of 1987, three years after the last introduction of a new figure in 1984 with Pauline’s Ellen HN 3020.
In producing these charming child studies Doulton sought to recreate in china the ‘delicacy, tenderness and grace of Kate’s work.’ This attention to detail explains their enduring popularity among collectors to this day and naturally those with shorter production runs including Tom, Ellen and James are the most keenly sought after and carry the usual price premiums. Also popular with collectors is the display stand seen in the above catalogue illustration.