Royal Doulton’s famous Bather figure.

The liberating period of the 1920’s to 1930’s often seems incongruous to non-Doulton figure collectors who associate ladies in ballgowns with Doulton figures, but those in the know, recall that there are a small group of nude figures produced in the art deco period that encapsulate that movement perfectly. All the figures contained in this small band of lady figures were the brain child of Leslie Harradine, Doulton’s then principal figure modeler.

As if to prove their own artistic credentials, Doulton introduced over a 10 year period several nude studies that confirmed their artistic prowess.

The first we must all know was Harradine’s The Bather, modeled on this contemporary advert for Cyclax bath salts.

There were six different versions of this popular model, with this colourway proving to be the most popular.

The Bather HN687.

In the succeeding years there was a second version of The Bather introduced, shown here. Although a different model, she was obviously intended to be a partner to the original.

The Bather HN773 (second version).

By the mid to late 1930’s tastes had changed and prudery was once more on the rise, and so a last version of this figure was introduced wearing a bathing suit, so reflecting the continued interest in lidos.

The Bather HN1708.

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