‘Spook-tacular’ Royal Doulton!

Nothing could be more appropriately named than Royal Doulton’s figures ‘A Spook’ and ‘Spooks’; the latter an adaptation of the first. 

Two modern Royal Doulton tobies reflecting the ongoing influence early figures have on today’s design studio.

A Spook, designed by Harry Tittensor, was introduced in 1916 and was available to order until 1936, with a total of 8 official colourways to choose from. The last HN1218 was introduced in 1926, exactly 10 years after his original introduction. 

A Titanian Spook by H. Tittensor.

An example of a true base to A Spook.

Interestingly a miniature version, without HN or M number has also been discovered, although when it comes to fake Royal Doulton, it is this miniature figure which crops up most! No doubt due to the ease of producing him in this small scale. 

The rare miniature Spook.

Things got a bit spookier in 1918 for the HN Collection, when Doulton’s great art director Charles Noke adapted the original single figure to bring collectors his ‘Spooks’ or ‘Double Spook’ HN88 (1918-36). Just like their individual counterpart, Spooks was also available to order until 1936 and also available in alternate colourways; in their case just three. 

Spooks HN89.

A Spook and Spooks can be found in unusual glazes including Titanian, to which they lend themselves perfectly. 

The wonderfully detailed HN372 photographed by J. Lukins and which appears in the figure ‘bible’! 

Royal Doulton’s things that go bump in the night…..

With Halloween just around the corner what better time to look back at Doulton’s ghoulish delights…..

Halloween or Hallowe’en is also known by many as All Hallows’ Eve, a celebration held annually on 31st October around the world. It is in effect the eve of the western Christian feast of All Hallow’s Day; a time for remembering those who have departed this world!

Witch HN4444 (2002-3).

Today Halloween has a much more party feel to it inspiring films such as Hocus Pocus and also children’s favourite pastimes such as trick-or-treating, as well as providing grown ups with the opportunity to dress up! 

Rare Kingsware Wizard vase. 

The carving out of pumpkins or as I recall turnips is something of a rite of passage for youngsters today!

Halloween Bunnykins DB132 (1993-7).

Halloween for us today is all about witches, wizards, black cats and magic….and all we have to do is pay a cursory glance back at Royal Doulton’s back catalogue to see how this ghoulish festival has inspired their design studios over the centuries! 

Witches seriesware pattern (1906-c.1928).

Of course we haven’t mentioned the handful of ghoulish character jugs produced by Doulton or the ever popular black cat Lucky or even early art wares such as the Vellum witch light bracket! The list really is extensive when you start to look! 

Witches Cauldron DB293.

Royal Doulton’s tribute to Florence Nightingale. 

We are all familiar with the story of the “Lady with the lamp” who visited the wounded soldiers in Scutari during the Crimean War – a celebrity created by the press during the Crimean war when the public needed a heroine to divert from current realities.

Florence Nightingale HN 3144 and her inspiration.

Florence came to prominence while serving as a nurse and manager during the Crimean War, where she organised the tending to of wounded soldiers. Her tremendous efforts during the Crimean War brought nursing a favourable reputation and she herself became an icon of Victorian culture, as the lady of the lamp.
The Young Miss Nightingale HN 2010 by Peggy Davies from her Period Figures in English History range. This piece reminds us that Florence was also a a young lady of rank and wealth, who spent much time on the continent.

As is typical, posthumously there has been much debate about the legacy Florence has left but in terms of nursing alone her legacy is still great with the Nightingale pledge taken by nurses and also a medal named after her.

Royal Doulton’s Philippa of Hainault HN 2008

This interpretation of the Queen of Edward III belongs to a wonderful series of Ladies from English History that were among the first of Peggy Davies’ models produced by Rpyal Doulton after WWII.

She ruled at a time when chivalry and pageantry filled the English court. Her husband and son, the Black Prince were men of war. Their captives the Kings of France and of Scotland were treated according to their rank, valour and misfortune – something that was attributed to her influence! 

That she is remembered for her gentleness and clemency is illustrated by the tale of her pleading for the lives of six citizens of Calais when the town fell. 

The Royal Doulton series of Period Figures in English History was made up of six personalities and was available for a short period (1948-53) and are all considered rare today!