Whenever people mention Doulton figures, damsels in large crinolines are what most non-collectors think of. Of course collectors know this not to be the case, but a simple look through the collectors’ bible ‘Royal Doulton Figures’ illustrates exactly how many male characters were produced over the years!
When the HN collection was launched in 1913 Charles Noke, Art Director, incorporated a handful of his own earlier Vellum figure studies including jesters and eastern musicians into his new collection. In addition to his own designs, he drew on other sculptors to build up interest and prestige for Doulton’s new venture.
Where else do we need to begin than with HN 1 Darling by the renowned potter Charles Vyse, which started a popular theme of child figures into the range that has continued right up to today!
We have already mentioned eastern characters and there were a slew of them introduced into the early HN collection, reflecting popular interest at the time and also a love of the theatre – another major theme in the HN collection.
Characters from literature can also be found including Shakespeare’s Falstaff and Cassim from 1001 Arabian Nights, which also influenced other introductions such as Baba and Abdullah.
Falstaff HN 1606 (1st version).
Doulton’s famous street sellers also feature many male characters from the familiar Balloon Man HN 1954 to the more modern Punch and Judy Man HN 2765.
Royal Doulton’s “Prestige” range contained many male subjects from Jack Point to King Charles, all of which were re-introductions with simplified decoration from the early HN Collection.
Men also feature in many of the early double figures such as The Rustic Swain, Tête-à-tête and The Court Shoemaker. Just as WWII was beginning a new handful of male figures emerged including the rare duo of The Corinthian and Regency Beau, which although attributed to Harry Fenton, it has been suggested that they may have been the idea of the great Leslie Harradine.
Male figures can be found across the HN range and also in the later M series when the many miniature Dickens figures were added to it too. Plus, just as with Doulton’s ladies, colourways and variations do crop up including this bone china version of Lambing Time dated 1938 and painted by Harry Allen’s expert hand.
Once again whatever your particular interest there is sure to be something by Royal Doulton to satisfy your collecting habit!