All posts by doultonchristopher1

Royal Doulton’s ever popular miniature Polly Peachum figures.

Polly Peachum and her counterparts hold a special place in the hearts of many figure collectors due to her prominent appearance in the HN Collection from 1921 until WWII. Polly is central to Royal Doulton’s first series of figures, designed by Leslie Harradine, and each is based on the Lovett Fraser costumes for the 1920 revival of the opera at the Lyric in Hammersmith, London.

A display of miniature Polly Peachums in an appropriately sized display!

Originally produced in a typical larger size as two models – one standing HN463 (with 6 other colourways) and one curtsying (again with 4 more colourways), the latter is often referred to as Polly Curtsey in early publicity for the Beggars Opera series.

A 1925 calendar with Polly dated 1925.

It is the latter model (316) or second version of Polly that has inspired this post, for as a miniature figure she can be found in more recorded and unrecorded colourways than any other Royal Doulton figure.

Polly mounted on a bell push.

Today she can still be found mounted in all manner of useful objects from calendars to bell pushes, and a host of other objects in between! Whilst more easily found versions of her such as M21 in pink are relatively inexpensive, other more unusual versions can easily reach four figure sums, which considering her diminutive size (6cm) is quite astonishing!

One of a number of colourways that Polly can be found in!

Interestingly the first versions of this miniature Polly appeared in 1925 as part of the HN, thus pre-dating the M series and it is from this period that most unrecorded variations appear. There were 8 original HN colourways of her and the most popular were incorporated into the M series upon its launch in 1932.

Another variation of our heroine!

Questions around the markings on the bases of some of these early versions remain unanswered including why some carry early HN numbers such as HN8. My explanation is that these seemingly erroneous references actually refer to the colour of early full size HN figures such as the Crinoline and Picardy Peasant which have been given to Polly as well.

Polly labelled HN1265 to her base, referencing her colourway based on Lady Fayre HN1265.

Royal Doulton’s Carrara ware

Carrara ware carries a special backstamp and is a stonewarewith a white matt glaze that imitates a dull marble effect. Early examples can be found featuring fine painting and gilding (ca. 1890’s).

An unusual lidded vase in Carrara.

Carrara ware is rare to find today but there are some impressive advertising pieces including the famous Mark Marshall seahorse or the Leslie Harradine bear that were produced to advertise this ware.

A group of Doulton advertising pieces including the polar bear mentioned and also an unusual scarab.

It was particularly popular in the architectural world in the early 20th Century and several buildings around the world have a Carrara ware façade, including the world famous Savoy Hotel in London.

A salvaged Doulton name plaque from an unknown building.

Royal Doulton’s rare Bonzo dog models

Bonzo

Of the early sets of Doulton animals the Bonzo character dogs from the 1920’s are some of the hardest to track down. In total there were six early dogs HN808-813 and seemingly very few were made. Created by George Studdy, his mischeaveous dog Bonzo became the star of comic strip, magazines and postcard! Extremely rare examples of Bonzo have been found mounted as finials or on alabaster desk accessories.

Bonzo appears in several colourways including a deep purple glaze, ivory with red or black buttons and a deep blue glaze among others. Due to the miniature size of the piece, he is typically just marked ‘DOULTON’ and occasionally the model number 868 to its base.

Collecting Royal Doulton’s Poppies ‘B’ seriesware.

Few designs have the followers of this particular Royal Doulton art nouveau design. Well over a century after its introduction in 1909, today collectors still compete for unusual items featuring this iconic design. 


Although it had a relatively long production period until sometime after the outbreak of WWII, examples of it, other than rack plates are very hard to find. 


Over the years I have seen tennis sets, toilet sets, dinner plates and various jugs in collections around the world, yet, each collection has a specific focus of either decoration for the bathroom, the use of rack plates in a sitting or dining room or else simply part of a wider collection of Royal Doulton’s famous serieswares.


There are three colour variations to be found, namely pink, blue and a yellow version. Interestingly there is also a special backstamp to be found which reads ‘sleep gentle sleep’, no doubt a reference to the symbolic use of poppies for those fallen in war and also recalling that famous line from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part II. 

Royal Doulton’s rare seriesware design ‘Cock-a-doodle-do’.

Royal Doulton certainly knew how to capture the market and this seriesware design is another illustration of their timely delivery to a clamouring public.

Today we associate this series with nurseryware but of course it does carry Royal Doulton’s famous D numbers from their ‘gift’ ware range (either D4686 or D4830).

In total there are seven scenes which revolve around the farmyard life of hens, ducks and of course roosters; all of whom can be found brought to comic life in this series and many are illustrated here. 

This design was introduced in 1928 and withdrawn by 1939, making it a hard series to find today. 
Interestingly, it also carries an individual backstamp so popular with Royal Doulton on their many seriesware designs.

My thanks to John Hatfield for use of the images here. CE

Our very special guest this weekend (11th June 2017) will be Michael Doulton…

Our very special guest this weekend for our summer Royal Doulton collectors’ event, Michael Doulton will be available on Sunday to chat to collectors and also sign any purchases. 


Michael Douton is the 6th generation descendant of John Doulton who was the founder of Royal Doulton.

Michael has worked for Royal Doulton for over 40 years traveling around the world as brand Ambassador.


Michael hosts many Figurine and Royal Albert signing events in USA, Canada, Australia and China each year.

Don’t forget to visit us this weekend at the World of Wedgwood!

Introducing our guest modeller for our June 2017 Royal Doulton event at the World of Wedgwood!

Born in the heart of the Potteries Neil Welch’s talent to sculpt the human form has led to a range of high profile commissions, including Wedgwood’s and Doultons synonymous with their quality ceramics for over 250 years . Neil left school at the age of 16 with A grades in art and gained a two year apprenticeship at the New Victoria theatre as a stage set and props designer, here he discovered a love of sculpture which has never left him. At this time he also began to create his own unique sculptures. Self taught , in 1993 he was approached by Wedgwoods/ Coalport to become (in-house) ,where he stayed for the next seven years before becoming freelance in 2000. As a freelance sculptor Neil gained the total freedom of expression that he craved. 


 Neil has the uncanny ability to combine exquisite design with mood and feeling making his work truly special. Neil now aged 45, is currently showing his beautiful lifelike bronze sculptures in galleries all around the country where his work is becoming highly sought after. He also has 2 very successful figurative ranges of his own which he licenses to the giftware market. 

Come along this Sunday to meet Neil as well as Michael Doulton, our host and 6th generation descendant of Royal Doulton’s founder!