Simply search Facebook for the ‘Doulton Collectors Club’ and ask to join, then you can ask questions a view a variety of material from around the world!!!
What are you waiting for?
One final area I would like to touch on is the Doulton Lambeth factory. Whilst worldwide acclaim had been found since Victorian times with the works of Tinworth and also Hannah Barlow , their particular styles belonged to a bygone age and taste by the time the 1920’s had dawned.
Examples of Tinworths skill and artistry
Examples of Hannah Barlow’s high Victorian style
Without doubt the skill of these two great Lambeth artists cannot be denied, but as Leslie Harradine himself once commented, he preferred the amusing Tinworth mice to the dreary biblical plaques so preferred by Tinworth. The styles of these two artists hardly changed over the course of their careers, unlike many others whose designs remained fresh, even long after their productions. Consider the work of Mark Marshall here.
16″ Marshall vase together with a press review of the centenary celebrations of the Lambeth factory in 1915 at which the same vase was displayed
In stark contrast to the grotesques he favoured either side of the turn of the 20th Century, here you can see an example of his work which even today seem remarkably up to date.
Similarly we have Eliza or Elise Simmance. She is unarguably one of the most versatile of all the Lambeth artists. Consider here a selection of her works from the beginning to the end of her career.
Early and later example of Simmance’s versatile style
Below is an excerpt from a Doulton brochure from the deco period. As you can see there was an emphasis on colour and shape. More interestingly is the fact that Doulton chose to advertise just pieces which could be reproduced rather than artist pieces – it was after all in business to sell, sell, sell. These production pieces, or ‘Late Editions’ as they have become known were of course designed by Lambeth’s major artists including Mark Marshall, Francis Pope, Leslie Harradine and Margaret Thompson amongst others.
Catalogue page ca. 1934
I am a particular fan of Margaret Thompson’s work, whether it be her Late Edition pieces, her wonderful faience work on vases and tiles or even her artist pieces in Stoneware.
A stylish Margaret Thompson jardinière, an example of her faience work and three late edition pieces ca. 1920
And there we draw to a close with out restrospective into Doulton wares from the 1920’s and 1930’s. I hope that you have learned something new and also seen that in order to stay ahead of their rivals Doulton was ready to welcome the decadent 20’s, and change production accordingly.
I would like to thank Seaway China for the use of their picture library together with my own Ventafile, and of course if you have any questions relating to our talk or indeed anything else Doulton please just ask !
The introduction of Doulton’s ‘Character Jugs’
Together with the re-establishment of Staffordshire figure production, Noke senior also strived to re-introduce the long neglected production of Staffordshire Toby Jugs. Thus in the swinging 20’s Noke’s toby jugs of Charlie Chaplin and George Robey were introduced.
The very rare Charlie Chaplin toby jug
These are very rare today, and a further jug of a Huntsman from 1919 were the sole productions, until Doulton introduced their own version of the traditional Toby Jug, more commonly known to us as Character Jugs. Unlike the traditional Toby Jug, Doulton’s Character Jugs focussed on only the head of their character. Thus in 1934 the first Jugs, John Barleycorn and Old Charley, were introduced.
The ever popular John Barleycorn and Old Charley jugs
They were swiftly followed by many other instantly recognisable faces including Sairey Gamp, Dick Turpin and Parson Brown. The first reference to character jugs is recorded in Doulton’s factory design books in 1935. Before the end of 1934 another modeller was coming to the fore of character jug design, he was Harry Fenton, who together with Charles Noke, jointly and later separately were responsible for all the jugs introduced until 1948. The range was quickly expanded to include small size jugs in 1935, and then a medium size in 1938 of 6 dickens jugs, which proved unpopular and were withdrawn in 1948.
Since that time we have grown used to referring to large, small, miniature and tiny jugs. A more recent attempt at medium jugs has been tried but that is for a future article! The late 1930’s also saw the introduction of the first Character Jug derivatives including tobacco jars, musical jugs and even tea pots.
Three wonderful Old Charley derivatives
The beginning of WWII brought the inevitable slowing down of production and the introductions of new jugs just as it did with the figure department, although prototypes were being made such as the infamous Maori and the white matt Winston Churchill loving cup of 1941, produced specially for the ‘American and Empire markets’.
Three views of the famous Winston Chruchill jug
With many hundreds of Jugs having now been introduced, amongst them variations, prototypes and others with often subtle variations, this area of collecting Doulton often becomes intense with a few die hard collectors willing to part with tens of thousands of dollars to secure that one piece. This fever is fuelled by specialist books on the subject as well as many clubs and societies the world over. Here you can see a selection of particular raritites and favourites…..
An ever popular book on the subject is Jocelyn Lukins’ Collecting Doulton Character Jugs, available exclusively through the link below:
The Burslem Art Deptartment
A view of Royal Doulton’s Nile Street preimises Buslem, England
Charles Noke continued to experiment with glazes long after the departure of Cuthbert Bailey with whom he had perfected the Flambé glaze in the early 1900’s. And so in 1920 Sung was introduced, whereby painted decoration, colour and gilt are fused with the a flambé glaze. I am sure you will agree that from this publicity photograph the pieces are magnificent. However, it is in the flesh that these pieces must be enjoyed to full effect as in this slide. Vases, large and small were decorated with exotic birds, pixies in woodlands, fish in seascapes along with many other subjects. These pieces were painted principally by Harry Nixon, Arthur Eaton and Fred Moore. Sung glazes can be found on Buddhas, as seen here in this advert from the 1920’s, a handful of suitable early figures from the HN range such as A Spook, as well as animals, in particular elephants, a favourite of Charles Noke.
Orignial Sung advert ca. 1920
Another magnificent addition to the Burslem range in 1920 was the Chinese Jade glaze, imitating the ancient Chinese glazes of centuries before, by using a thick white glaze streaked with green. Pieces of Chinese Jade are exceptionally rare, due to the costliness of production, together with the high proportion of rejects due to the inherent difficulties in achieving this technique.
Chinese Jade lidded bowl with ‘Despair’ HN596 as the finial (the name of this figure is only a name given when the original figure book was published in 1978 as there is no record of its actual name).
A variation of this ware exists whereby the green streaks are replaced by blue ones, and this extraordinarily rare glaze is aptly named Lapisware.
A very rare Lapisware lamp base
A final glaze worthy of inclusion here is perhaps the most magnificent of all. Chang ware was introduced in 1925 and involved a thick body upon which multi-coloured thick glazes were allowed to run and crackle – contrary to all usual pottery rules.
Original Chang catalogue cover
The results you can see from this slide are breathtaking. Nothing like this glaze had been sen before even in ancient times, and it was greeted by worldwide acclaim. Chang pieces are usually found with the monogram for Harry Nixon on their bases together with Noke, for either Charles or Jack Noke, who succeeded his father as art director in the late 1930’s. The addition of Noke’s name signified the quality such work achieved.
Chang ginger jar and cover
I have already mentioned Doulton Seriesware briefly, with Dickensware as it is now known, and whilst the majority of patterns pre-date the 1920’s new patterns which reflected current tastes and interests were all the while being introduced.
Sample of Dickensware
However older designs such as Dickensware pictured above continued to be big sellers around the world. Here below, we can see examples of the Gnomes series introduced in 1920’s.
Gnomes catalogue page ca. 1924
This is often labelled as Doulton’s version of Wedgewood’s famous fairyland lustre ware by Daisy Makeig Jones. A number of further patters, and one which I feel is much more reflective of the mood of the 1920’s, is this pattern ‘Surfing’ introduced in 1926.
Surfing catalogue page ca. 1924
Once again we can see the popular image of bathers which we have already met when discussing figures, and again in particular women in bathing costume, perfectly illustrates to us today the popularity of the Lido or outside pool and also the beginnings of world-travel beyond the very wealthy. Other patterns introduced during the 1920’s reflect the continued interest in sports such as hunting, seen here with ‘The Quorn Hunt’, which today claims to be one of the world’s oldest hunting packs and in the UK to be our most famous hunt, although fox hunting is now illegal.
The Quorn Hunt catalogue page ca. 1924
Also from the 1920’s we have ‘Kensington Gardens’, which feature silhouettes in this most famous of London’s parks.
Kensington Gardens catalogue page ca. 1924
One final seriesware pattern I would like to mention is Aldin’s Dogs, of course taken from illustrations and drawings by the popular British artist Cecil Aldin. Aldin was not just famous for his animal pictures but also his works of rural life and sport. Doulton were to introduce in the following decade a series of so-called Dogs of Character based on Aldin’s work. However, here you can see from this catalogue page how his work was effectively used as a seriesware pattern, and to explain the popularity of this pattern today, remember we British are reputedly more keen on our dogs than our countrymen!
Aldin’s Dogs catalogue page ca. 1924
There we finish with the Burslem Art Department of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Yet, as you have seen many of what we term our most prized possessions today hail from this period.
Next we will look at the introduction of Character Jugs in the 1930’s!
Puttin’ on the ritz – Part 1 – Royal Doulton Figures from the deco period
When one thinks of Doulton one automatically pictures Doulton figures in one’s mind’s eye, and that is where I will begin today. Amongst the most popular figures ever produced at Burslem are the creations of Arthur Leslie Harradine (shown here relaxing at home with his wife. Behind her you can see a cabinet of white figures sent to him for approval).
Apprenticed to Doulton at the beginning of the 20th Century, he began working for them once again on a freelance basis after WWI. His first creations for the HN range coincide with the dawn of the 1920’s and also the beginnings of the commercial success of Charles Noke’s revival of the long neglected production of Staffordshire china figures.
Charles Noke, Art Director at Doulton’s Burslem factory, had for the previous decade been determined to revive the production of china figures, and had approached many leading sculptors of the time such as Phoebe Stabler and Ernest Light, but ironically it was with the home-grown talent of Harradine that Noke’s range was to be acclaimed as the pinnacle of china figure production in England and around the world.
Harradine’s first figure introduced to the HN range is this rather stylish lady titled ‘The Princess’ from 1920.
Here at once we have a glimpse into Harradine’s ability to interpret trends of the time, you can see it closely resembles this illustration by Leon Bakst for a costume for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe. This tremendous ability to interpret images into pottery also brings us a typical 1920’s Harradine figure, The Bather, taken from this Cyclax advert from the time.
This latter figure really illustrates what Harradine brought to the HN range that differed from his predecessors: a smaller size of figure, with a less sculptural feel and decorated with an array of dazzling colours. Three things that were to shape the future of the HN range up until today. As you can see from these instantly recognisable figures, Harradine achieved what others had failed to do, and so we have here a selection of what we can term typical Harradine figures all introduced during the 1920’s.
The 20’s saw re-newed freedom for women and this too is reflected in the HN range. Consider Miss 1926 with her Eton crop or nude figures of the time, Carnival and Circe (HN1249 below).
However, it was not so much the social changes that defined the era but the emergence of a new phenomena, the so-called Flapper, a term for girls who were shortening their skirts, bobbing their hair, wearing makeup, smoking and drinking and going out with young men without chaperones. Another such ‘it’ girl to be introduced was Dulcinea shown here in her fantastic fringed dress and her bolero hat.
Fashions of the time played a hugely important role in inspiring Harradine’s figures. Here you can see the Hunts Lady in her stylish hunting garb and a contemporary advert for the same.
Consider too the figures Gloria and Clothilde , which come straight out of 20’s fashion magazines. A further slide I would like to share here is this one of the inspiration behind Harradine’s figure Carmen.
Clearly Harradine had many sources from which to draw and here we also have a glimpse of a figure taken from a contemporary greetings card designed by Jennie Harbour. The use of greetings card illustrations became the norm in the 1930’s.
New past times too played a part in influencing the range – take for example Sunshine Girl illustrated here who was doubtless inspired by a contemporary advert for the Dunes Beaches in Chicago. Here are the two original Sunshine Girl colourways.
Doulton’s group of 1920’s figures really did set them apart from their competitors, such a Worcester, who continued to draw inspiration from traditional subjects for figures such as Water carriers and other Grecian style figures, whilst the Doulton range forged a new path in figure production, creating a bevy of 20’s flappers and ‘It’ girls of the day.
One only has to take a cursory glance at the HN collection from the 1920’s to see from where these draw their inspiration. The theatre clearly played an important role as ‘the’ pastime of the era. Figures with a theatrical background include Harlequinade, Pierette and Columbine.
All three take their names from the Comedia dell’ Arte where the traditional Pierot character is portrayed as a sad figure pining for the love of Columbine who runs away with Harlequin. Whilst the origins of the names of these figures hark back to an earlier time, nothing about them can be said to do the same. Their costumes reflect the renewed interest in the 1920’s in Masquerade Balls and here is another example!
Male characters too were represented in the art deco HN range, consider this Yeoman of the Guard seen here, who was made as a pair to A Chelsea Pensioner, both introduced in the mid-20’s. Neith of these can be said to be ‘modern’ yet both are clearly modelled on their namesakes!
Whilst the Yeoman above may simply be represented as a warder of the Tower of London, his appearance may also be explained by the ongoing popularity of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas from the late 19th Century.
Leslie Harradine was also responsible for the first set of figures to be introduced, The Beggar’s Opera Series, again inspired by the theatre. Harradine’s figures all closely resemble the costume designs of Claude Lovatt Fraser the designer for the revival of this piece at Hammersmith, London in 1920. Once made up the costumes were thrown to the studio floor and walked on, had paint thrown on them, and where necessary as with the Beggar’s costume, were then slashed and dirtied. Lovat Fraser reasoned that the characters from the play were from 18th Century London low life and spent much of their time in jail.
Above is the original Captain Macheath figure compared with the original theatre poster and Lovat Fraser’s design and here is Polly Peachum in two versions both by Harradine, shown against Lovat Fraser’s original Design.
This first series of figures set the tone for future sets by teaming a popular English theme with an emerging Doulton house style. The series proved a huge success and in Doulton’s first official publicity catalogue after WWII, they themselves lament the withdrawal of this popular set! The main female character is also immortalised in a miniature version, and incidentally more colour variations of this one miniature figure exist than any other! Here you can see three miniatures I have come across.
The Beggar’s Opera series was closely followed by six characters from the ever popular work of Charles Dickens . Noke had already introduced the popular Dickens seriesware pattern based upon these same characters and others, which had gained praise from even Dickens’ son Alfred Tennyson Dickens back in 1911. This letter from Dickens’ son was often used in Doulton publicity of the time.
(Interestingly he was named after his godfathers, one of whom was the great Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who was Poet Laureate to England’s Queen Victoria for most of her reign.) Below you can see a slide showing Harradines original stoneware models for the miniature Dickens range that was introduced.
The 1920’s marked the introduction of what we can term the first advertising figures too. Here we have the Sketch Girl pictured against the magazine she is advertising.
The figure Miss Sketch appeared on the cover of that popular magazine, a pedlar figure carrying on her tray mini figures representing the varied topics covered by the magazine, a ballerina for the theatre; a jockey for sport; a cupid for love stories; a soldier for current affairs; and the devil well I will leave you to decide upon…..
In addition we have The Perfect Pair, a figure that is not widely recognized as an advertising figure, but which in fact represents the union of two great British magazines, Eve and The Tatler in one publishing house. Interestingly this advert was designed by Mabel Lucie Atwell in 1923.
All walks of life were catered for and below you can see a particularly unusual little chap, known to us as Steve. He was created in the likeness of one of the yard men, for Wettern, Beadle and Bristowe Road Builders. Occasionally he does turn up without the added lettering around his base.
Advertising figures for the perfumiers Grossmiths were also produced. Here you can see The Old English Lavender Figure , together with a Yardley’s advert.
A final advertising figure I would like to draw to your attention is one of my absolute personal favorites, Tsang Ihang, and an advert for the perfume she is promoting.
The ‘inspirational’ advert for the figure remained elusive until very recently and I was thrilled to discover it just a few years ago. As with all things we search for assiduously when you find one, another promptly turns up as happened in this instance to me!
One final figure which must be mentioned here as a child of the 1920’s is this, perhaps the most iconic of all Doulton figures The Old Balloon Seller HN1315 introduced in 1929.
Whilst not the first Street Seller in the HN range her enduring popularity, even now over a decade out of production has ensured her status as possibly the most immediately recognisable of all Doulton figures. Yet she, and her predecessors such as The Flower Seller all owe some thanks to another great sculptor of the time, Charles Vyse. Vyse was of course the creator of this delightful figure, Darling HN1, and I am sure Harradine took inspiration for his street seller figures from Vyse.
You can see immediately how Vyse’s Balloon Lady morphed into Doulton’s own interpretation by Harradine. And again with Vyse’s Wild Flowers and Harradine’s Sweet Lavender. A further example illustrated below is this Vyse figure and Harradine’s Bridget.
Vyse in turn took inspiration from the many street sellers that were still to be seen in London street life in the early 20th Century, like the lady in the illustration below. The Old Balloon Seller was succeeded by many other street sellers in the 1930’s and another personal favourite of mine is this, Primroses which closely resembles this Margaret Tarrant illustration.
And so we come to the end of this section exporing Doulton’s deco figure delights.
Next time we will look at Doulton’s deco Burslem wares!