Royal Doulton’s Figure Darling – where it all began!

Or rather where the then new figure range began in 1913 – is perhaps how that heading should read.

Darling in his original size with HN 1 at the fore, the HN 1371 and of course the more frequently found HN 1319.

In reality Darling was not the first figure in the HN collection but due to Queen Mary’s famous christening of him with her statement “Isn’t he a darling” – he was given the prestigious number 1 in the new number sequence.

Typical early base, this time belonging to HN 1. Note the actual number of figures painted on the inside ‘349’!

Designed by Charles Vyse who would later inspire Doulton’s famous balloon sellers, Darling was produced in his original size of 19cm in four colourways – HN 1 in a pale blue grey nightshirt, HN 1319 in a white nightshirt with black base and then HN 1371 and 1372 in green and pink nightshirts respectively and both with black bases. Of all these originally size models it is HN 1371 and 1372 which are the particularly rare examples.

In the post WWII period Darling was remodelled in the now smaller and most familiar size of 13cm as HN 1945 and remained in production as such until 1997. A lovely additional version of him HN 3613 for Peter Jones the China specialist was introduced to mirror the original HN 1 colouring in 1993.

Only one further model of this charming young boy has been produced and that was for Royal Doulton’s 200th Anniversary Icons series as HN 5648 in a smaller size again of 10cm!

The now mid size Darling HN 3613 with his smaller Icons series counterpart HN 5648, pictured against the first figure booklet from 1913. Note the reference to Queen Mary and ‘Now at Buckingham Palace’! 

All in all Darling proved to be the first of one of Royal Doulton’s most popular collecting themes when it comes to figures – children! 

June’s Doulton event – save the date! 

Hello again everyone–We’re very excited about the plans for our 2017 Summer Royal Doulton Fair on Sunday, June 11. As you already know, we’ll have Michael Doulton as our special guest, feature an exclusive fair special figure, and have a full day’s activities for collectors while you enjoy shopping with the UK’s top Royal Doulton dealers. We’re particularly excited to be at the newly refurbished World of Wedgwood in Barlaston this year where we can all enjoy everything they have to offer—their incredible museum, shops and café.Candy and Bill Beal have more exciting news, too, about their “To The Manor Born” UK tour that they’re scheduling around our event. The group will assemble in London on Monday, June 5, depart for the Cotswolds the next day for 3 days of touring and enjoying that unique area and then it’s off to Stoke-on-Trent for 5 full days of visiting stately homes like Chatsworth House and Tudor masterpieces like Little Moreton Hall.  

Best of all for collectors, though, will be the Summer Royal Doulton Fair and everything surrounding it but the group will also enjoy many extras—invitation to a special preview of the Fair the night before, an incredible tour of the Moorcroft factory and museum, a special dinner with Royal Doulton experts, and more to be announced later.  

Several days in the Oxford area will come next with tours at wonderful locations like Windsor Castle and Blenheim Palace. The tour will finish on Sunday, June 18.  

Beautiful manor houses such as Barnsley House (above) will be home bases for the group at all three locations. For more information on this all-inclusive “To The Manor Born” tour, including pricing, please contact Candy and Bill at and follow them on Facebook @WhiteNightsNorthernLights for trip updates, photos and more.

I’ll be joining the group for many of the events at Stoke-on-Trent so I’ll be looking forward to seeing you then. Space will be limited at these manor houses so please contact Candy and Bill as soon as possible.

Best regards,