How Royal Doulton’s Rustic Swain became Midsummer Noon! 

Royal Doulton figure collectors are aware that figures often morph into other figures over time and here is another example: Leslie Harradine’s Rustic Swain from 1935 was this time simplified to omit out the male figure and re-introduced as Midsummer Noon in 1939. 

  
The Rustic Swain HN 1746.

It is not unusual for such adaptations; think of The Windmills Lady who became The Old Lavender Seller and I recall once seeing a version of the later figure Belle o’ the Ball seated with a male companion that was omitted on the final production piece. 

  
The Rustic Swain HN 1745 and Midsummer Noon HN 1899.

Unusually here though, it was obviously felt that the revised figure Midsummer Noon was a strong enough piece to introduce again after the war with a simplified palette and slightly different modelling: the hat, the flowers , the detailing etc… All probably not noticeable until you compare the two side by side. 

  
Left HN 2033 and right the earlier HN 1899.

As for dates of production, the original Rustic Swain it is suggested was withdrawn by 1949 although examples I have seen have all been dated prior to 1938 only. Similarly with Midsummer Noon HN 1899 and HN 1900, whilst their withdrawal dates are also by 1949 a more realistic date is 1944 in my experience.

  
Midsummer Noon HN 1899 and The Rustic Swain HN1746.

Royal Doulton’s Lady Musicians series by Peggy Davies.

The twelve lady musicians who make up this elegant series were all modelled by the legendary Peggy Davies and the first figurine Cello was introduced in 1970 with the others progressively introduced from that year. 

 
Cover of a booklet produced by Doulton to advertise the new Lady Musicians series.
Another first was that these figures were the first in 50 years to carry the name of their modeller to the base in recognition of Peggy’s massive contribution to the Doulton fame.

  
A contemporary Australian exhibition of Peggy’s independent work.

Each of these lady musicians were produced in a limited edition of 750 pieces and were produced in a matt finish, popular at the time. The idea behind the series being that over the years an 18th Century orchestra could be built up. 

  
The Leader.

Typical of Peggy we can still recognise today the results of her painstaking research and technical expertise we associate with her work.

  
Lady Musicians HN 2795, 2798 & 2796.

Again typical of Peggy is that she decided to introduce her own figure The Leader to accompany this series under her own name to satisfy collectors’ requests. During the 18th Century it would have been more usual to have a leader rather than a conductor. 

The story of Royal Doulton’s Miss Sketch (1923).

  
This wonderfully detailed figure was commissioned by The Sketch magazine and consequently has no HN number or official title to her base as she was simply made for advertising purposes and not for sale to the general public. In the early years of the HN collection several advertising and publishing houses commissioned Doulton figures to advertise their products including The Perfect Pair HN581, which celebrates the amalgamation of Eve magazine and The Tatler from 1923 and another famous figure the Standing Beefeeter, which carries no official name or HN number, and who was made to advertise The Illustrated London News in 1924.The figure of Miss Sketch appeared on the front of the magazine and Doulton’s study is a very faithful copy of this peddler lady. In her tray she carries miniature figures representing the subjects covered by the publication: a ballerina for the theatre: a jockey for sport: a cupid for love stories: a soldier for current affairs and a devil who represents devilish satire.

A letter has been discovered preserved inside of one of these rare figures. The letter from the Sketch magazine is dated 1927 and was sent presenting the winner of the magazine’s cross- word with their figurine as a prize. What a wonderful treat?

Royal Doulton’s tribute to the Elizabethan explorer Sir Walter Raleigh.

The name Sir Walter Raleigh will forever be associated with Elizabeth I and the first Elizabethan era when great fame and fortune came readily to England’s Virgin Queen. It was a time of great discoveries and of worldliness that Sir Walter contributed to.


Sir Walter Raleigh HN 1751.

Sir Walter Raleigh – poet, writer, soldier, courtier and explorer – is today recognised as one of the 100 most important people in England’s history.


A portrait of Raleigh with his son in a similar pose to the Doulton figure.

Hailing from Devon, he was a favourite of Elizabeth I at one time and was knighted by her in 1585. He was instrumental in the colonisation of North America and his explorations to Virginia paved the way for future English settlements there.


One of Doulton’s famous character hugs to the great man.

 

There has even been a Doulton Bunnykins made of Raleigh.

Whilst his story is a famous one, inspiration for this true to life study of him by Royal Doulton derives from a popular source of early Doulton figures, Dion Clayton Calthrop’s book on English Costume from the early 20th Century. He appears to have been modelled on the illustration shown with minor changes including the ruff around his neck.

HN 1751 and one of Calthrop’s illustrations.

Dickens Doultonised

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20140426-150659.jpgSome early Doulton advertising booklets for Dickensware ca. 1912 – the Centenary of Dickens’ birth, together with  2 seriesware trays a calendar with a Dickens figure and an early Tony Weller

When it comes to the works of Dickens, Charles Noke, Doulton’s art director at Burslem was blatantly a fan if not obsessed by all things Dickens.

20140426-150742.jpgA facsimile of a letter from Dickens’ son to Doulton & Co. expressing his pleasure at their Dickens range

From the early 20th century and throughout his time as art director and even after, Doulton have produced a wide variety of wares to commemorate Dickens’ works.

20140426-150751.jpgThree of Leslie Harradine’s original models for the miniature Doulton Dickens figures

The lengthy of time these many wares were produced mean that there is something for every collector, old and new and something for every pocket size too!

20140426-150802.jpgAnother of Harradine’s Prototypes, this time the full…

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Collecting Doulton Lambeth’s famous sporting reliefs.

  Images of sports including cricket, cycling, shooting, running, football, long jump, rugby, soccer, horse racing and golf can be found decorating Lambethware. These items remain as popular today as they did during the time they were produced from the 1880’s to the outbreak of World War I. Typically decorated in the art nouveau taste in addition to the sporting motifs, these unusual pieces of Lambethware remain as stylish today as they did when first introduced! 
  Originally designed by John Broad, sporting relief items can be found with silver mounts, befitting their status as trophies and commemoratives and enabling personalised inscriptions to be given to the silver mounts. 

  

 

The most popular remain the golfing, cycling and cricket subjects and items of Doultonware featuring these sporting themes regularly crop up at specialist sporting auctions and consistently command among the highest prices in such sales. 

Royal Doulton’s famous ‘Witches’ pattern.

Thanks to the team at Seaway China for the images used here. 

  
When it comes to hard to find seriesware patterns, Doulton’s ‘Witches’ series is one of the most difficult to find today! 

  
Here is a rare three piece teaset including teapot, milk and sugar – all in wonderful original condition that is even more unusual!

  
Introduced in 1906 examples of this series ware pattern are among the hardest to trace today. It’s precise date of withdrawal is unknown but I can imagine the ‘by 1928’ is simply a guesstimate and in reality production would have been much more limited given its scarcity today.

  
As with all seriesware patterns a collection of one theme makes a real statement and the pleasure of collecting and searching out that rare item is what drives collectors to continue!