Category Archives: Art deco

Mirror, mirror …who is the fairest Doulton lady of them all? 

Whilst bouquets of splendid flowers, fans and ermine muffs may be what Doulton ladies are typically modelled holding, mirrors too can be found being held aloft by a small selection of figures both old and new.

 Lady Pamela HN 2718.

Camille HN 1586(L) and 1648(R).

Perhaps contrary to traditional views of what is virtuous and what is not, a figure admiring her own beauty was possibly not considered a positive trait and maybe the reason why there are so few ladies holding mirrors?

A prototype from 1940. Another variation of this lady has appeared holding a mask instead of the mirror.

Alternatively, perhaps it is the precariousness of having an arm stretched out holding a mirror that explains why so few ladies have appeared holding mirrors. Certainly when one looks at Harradine’s the Mirror you can see how fragile that little hand help mirror is!

The Mirror HN1852.

Whatever the reason it is something of a shame as the selection shown illustrate how wonderfully stylish these ladies are.

Royal Doulton’s Standing Beefeeter advertising figure.


This rather quaint figure produced in the early 1920’s is another advertising figure, but this time it’s purpose is to advertise the once popular Illustrated London News magazine. It covered all topical issues and as well as political comment, satire and stories, it also included full page prints for its readers of modern pictures. It was originally a weekly broadsheet but it move to bi-annual until it ceased production after the millennium.

The Beefeeter is a warder of the Tower of London and not a Yeoman of the Guard as is often stated. The Warder Beefeeter served the Towers prisioners and to protect the Crown Jewels but today they act more as tourist guides.

This Doulton personification of this famous London character holds an actual copy of the Illustrated London News from May 14 1842 , whose print is actually readable. Examples without any text do exist but it is the original that is most eagerly sought after.

The story of Royal Doulton’s Miss Sketch (1923).

This wonderfully detailed figure was commissioned by The Sketch magazine and consequently has no HN number or official title to her base as she was simply made for advertising purposes and not for sale to the general public. In the early years of the HN collection several advertising and publishing houses commissioned Doulton figures to advertise their products including The Perfect Pair HN581, which celebrates the amalgamation of Eve magazine and The Tatler from 1923 and another famous figure the Standing Beefeeter, which carries no official name or HN number, and who was made to advertise The Illustrated London News in 1924.

The figure of Miss Sketch appeared on the front of the magazine and Doulton’s study is a very faithful copy of this peddler lady. In her tray she carries miniature figures representing the subjects covered by the publication: a ballerina for the theatre: a jockey for sport: a cupid for love stories: a soldier for current affairs and a devil who represents devilish satire.

A letter has been discovered preserved inside of one of these rare figures. The letter from the Sketch magazine is dated 1927 and was sent presenting the winner of the magazine’s cross- word with their figurine as a prize. What a wonderful treat?

Royal Doulton’s tribute to the Elizabethan explorer Sir Walter Raleigh.

The name Sir Walter Raleigh will forever be associated with Elizabeth I and the first Elizabethan era when great fame and fortune came readily to England’s Virgin Queen. It was a time of great discoveries and of worldliness that Sir Walter contributed to.

Sir Walter Raleigh HN 1751.

Sir Walter Raleigh – poet, writer, soldier, courtier and explorer – is today recognised as one of the 100 most important people in England’s history.

A portrait of Raleigh with his son in a similar pose to the Doulton figure.

Hailing from Devon, he was a favourite of Elizabeth I at one time and was knighted by her in 1585. He was instrumental in the colonisation of North America and his explorations to Virginia paved the way for future English settlements there.

One of Doulton’s famous character hugs to the great man.


There has even been a Doulton Bunnykins made of Raleigh.

Whilst his story is a famous one, inspiration for this true to life study of him by Royal Doulton derives from a popular source of early Doulton figures, Dion Clayton Calthrop’s book on English Costume from the early 20th Century. He appears to have been modelled on the illustration shown with minor changes including the ruff around his neck.

HN 1751 and one of Calthrop’s illustrations.

Royal Doulton’s famous ‘Witches’ pattern.

Thanks to the team at Seaway China for the images used here. 

When it comes to hard to find seriesware patterns, Doulton’s ‘Witches’ series is one of the most difficult to find today! 

Here is a rare three piece teaset including teapot, milk and sugar – all in wonderful original condition that is even more unusual!

Introduced in 1906 examples of this series ware pattern are among the hardest to trace today. It’s precise date of withdrawal is unknown but I can imagine the ‘by 1928’ is simply a guesstimate and in reality production would have been much more limited given its scarcity today.

As with all seriesware patterns a collection of one theme makes a real statement and the pleasure of collecting and searching out that rare item is what drives collectors to continue! 

The influence behind Royal Doulton’s Classic 1930’s figurines Rosabell and Aileen.

Arthur Garratt (1873 – 1955)With works in National Collections in UK, you might expect to find more pictures of his here, however, to date there are just two. The first is Aileen HN1645 (1934 LH) and the Garratt picture ‘A sweet heart of mine’. 

The second is Rosabel HN1620 (1934 LH) and ‘Alice Blue Gown’, the title coming from two separate sources ; firstly the popular music hall song of the same name; and the second Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of the former American President. This second link here is not only in the title, the dress in the picture being Longworth’s signature colour but the picture also bears a strong resemblance to Longworth. Her exploits earned her the title ‘Alice in Plunderland’ during a trip to Asia and interestingly she would also wear a costly string of pearls a gift from the Cuban government for the rest of her life. 

Many of Garratts’ pictures feature a young lady sporting a shawl; an image which Doulton too seem to have favoured during the early Twentieth Century.

The best Doulton present of all….

Starting to think ahead, here’s the perfect gift for Doulton lovers – a subscription to our magazine! If you haven’t yet subscribed to the Doulton Collectors Club magazine, here’s a glimpse inside Issue 3. 

Issue 4 is about to go out around the world, so watch this space for a glimpse of the cover and to see what is in the next issue! 

To subscribe simply visit:

and register there by clicking on the Club tab. Alternatively you may subscribe via Seaway China!

Collecting Doulton Brangwyn ware. 

Brangwyn ware 1930-40Both Nokes, Charles and then Cecil, were men ahead of their time, constantly on the search for something new and thus Doulton approached Frank Brangwyn R. A. to design a range of tableware and other designs for them. 

Fruit bowl and soap dish with Brangwyn designs.

Originally intended to offer to the masses quality china at a reasonable price, the designs proved unpopular at the time among the buying public and as always the rarity of this ware has meant that it has become very collectable since then. Interestingly critics of the time hailed Doulton’s new ware as the pinnacle of ceramic ‘mass’ production. 

Two colourings of dinner plates available l is D5033 and r is D5221.

In addition to tableware designs, Brangwyn’s designs can also be found on various vases which are equally popular today. This ware carries one of two backstamps, the first ‘Designed by Frank Brangwyn’ and also ‘Brangwynware’ a Doulton pastiche. 

Three classic Brangwynware vases. Tallest is 12″.

In addition, once again Doulton’s in-house designers produced similar designs to the official Brangwyn designs and these carry a D number.

Edmund Dulac’s influence on Royal Doulton’s HN Collection.

EDMUND DULAC 1882 – 1953
Dulac was born in Toulouse, France. His artistic ability showed itself early on and drawings exist from his early teens. He won the 1901 and 1903 Grand Prix for his paintings submitted to annual competitions whilst at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. A scholarship took him to Paris and the Academie Julien where he stayed for three weeks. That same year (1904) he left for London and the start of a meteoric career. 

A chance happening across Dulac’s Picture Book for the French Red Cross (1915) led to the following discoveries:

BLUEBEARD HN75 issued in 1917. E W Light.

MANDERIN HN84 issued in 1918 .Charles Noke.


ONE OF THE FORTY HN417 issued in 1920. Harry Tittensor.

Dulac’s illustration above and others by him were used in an early 20th Century version of the popular takes 1001 Arabian Nights.

Also inspired by Dulac illustrations but not shown here is PRINCESS BADOURA HN2081 issued in 1952 again by Harry Tittensor.

Doulton ladies’ sleek 1930’s style! 

  If the 1920’s were typified by ‘Putting on the ritz’ then the 1930’s were about sleek lines and glamour. 

Typically, Doulton once again responded to the fashion of the times with a handful of designs inspired straight out of early 1930’s fashion magazines. Indeed we know that Mrs Harradine was a fan of a magazine called Britannia & Eve, as her husband based his figure Pamela on a cover girl from 1930. 

Even the names chosen for this select band of ladies represent their time, with stylish names such as Clothilde, Aileen and Gloria. 

Once again Doulton figures can be truly said to have represented their times, just as they had in the 1920’s with perennial favourites such as Pierette and Butterfly in their party costumes and as they would at the end of the 1930’s with Hollywood inspired glamour including The Mirror and Nadine.