Royal Doulton’s  Nursery Rhymes Series L – a look back…

 A smart child’s breakfast set, once popular christening presents. 

Classic nursery rhymes have long provided much inspiration for Doulton’s designers and just like many Seriesware designs the L range was influenced by another artist, Ann Anderson.

  Introduced in 1916 there were 12 different designs produced featuring classic characters such as Little Tommy Tucker, the Queen of Hearts and This Little Pig. 

A variation of the boxed set above.

Typically produced in bone china the precise date of withdrawal is unknown, although the outbreak of WWII is given as it is with so many of Doulton’s different lines. The bases of items with these designs can carry H or D numbers for this series ware pattern.

Beaker with silver plated handle and original retailer’s box.

As with so many series ware designs hunting down items provides a great challenge and a collection of them makes a great display.

Royal Doulton’s celebration of St George.

  St George HN 2067.

England’s patron saint is celebrated annually with St George’s Day on the 23rd April. Symbolic references to him and the story of his slaying a dragon can be found throughout Bristish life: his cross forms the national flag of England, also it features within the union flag of the United Kingdom and is also contained with other flags containing the Union Flag such as New Zealand’s and Australia’s.

England’s patron saint can be traced back through history to before the Norman Conquest of 1066 and it is recorded that by the 14thC St George had been declared England’s patron saint and protector of Royalty!
 Doulton advert for their Festival of Britain stand 1951.

 Doulton’s first figure model of St George (above) introduced as HN 385 was by Stanley Thorogood and was based on an earlier study by the artist from 1915.

 St George by Peggy Davies 1950-85.
Doulton have produced the figures above as well as featured him in other popular lines produced including their Bunnykins range. 

Bunnykins St George.


Royal Doulton’s Beggar’s Opera series.


Original poster for the opera.

Leslie Harradine as well as establishing a new standard in figure modelling in the early 1920’s, was also responsible for the first set of figures, The Beggar’s Opera Series, inspired by the theatre. Harradine’s figures all closely resemble the costume designs Claude Lovatt Fraser the designer for the revival of this piece at Hammersmith in 1920, as you can see from these pictures in the article.


Harradine’s The Beggar and the original sketch for the stage costume.

Once made up Lovat’s costumes were thrown to the studio floor and walked on, had paint thrown on them, and where necessary as with the Beggar’s costume, were then slashed and dirtied. He reasoned that the characters from the play were from 18th Century London low life and spent much of their time in jail.

Here is the original Captain Macheath figure compared with the original theatre poster…

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Collecting Royal Doulton’s seasoned characters! 

Granny’s Heritage HN 1873.
Everyone looks forward to that time in our lives when things slow down a little and we imagine that we will have time to enjoy the finer things in life! This perhaps explains collectors’ fascination with what we might term the ‘older generation’.

The very rare Granny HN 1804.

From the 1920’s Royal Doulton have been producing older characters as part of their famous HN range of figures in recognition of this basic sentiment.

A Gentlewoman HN 1632.

Whether it be the famous impoverished Old Balloon Seller or 1930’s figures such as Darby and Joan, A Gentlewoman or Granny all of whom are portrayed in aged contentment knitting, enjoying some snuff, serving tea or out and about! All the things we imagine that we may have done generations before now.

Gaffer HN 2053.

Respect and affection appear to be the watchwords with these characters with names such as Grandma and Gaffer being used over time. The term Gaffer of course referring to a boss or older man.

Past Glory HN 2484.

This reverence for the older generation also explains figures such as Past Glory HN 2484, Takings Things Easy HN 2677 and Stitch in Time HN 2352.

Taking Things Easy HN 2677.

Displayed as part of a group of elder characters or among more typical figures, each tells a tale of its own and it is perhaps for this reason that even today we fill our homes with these gentle characters!

A Stitch in Time HN 2352.

Thanks to Seaway China for the use of their photos.

  And finally a rare Kingsware teapot with Darby and Joan to illustrate that it isn’t just figures that feature older characters!