Category Archives: Art nouveau

Doulton’s Lactolian Wares

Produced briefly around the turn of the 20C, Lactolian wares were proof if any were needed that the Doulton band of artists could equal the work by the great Sèvres and Minton works and is in fact Doulton’s own version of the two aforementioned firms exquisite pâte-sur-pâte ware.

A beautiful Lactolian vase we saw recently at the National Gallery of Melbourne with members of the DCC.

This particular ware uses the same Parian body that John Slater (the original art directed at Burslem) had developed for Noke’s Vellum wares.

An exhibition quality trumpet vase in Lactolian.

Interestingly Lambeth collectors will tell us that they had previously also perfected this technique and among several key artists was one Florence Barlow who used this method extensively in her work. Examples of Doulton’s Lambeth pâte-sur-pâte were shown at the 1878 Paris Exhibition.

The production run of Lactolian ware was brief and thus today it is fiercely sought by collectors. The last piece I recall seeing was this vase at Bonhams in London a few years ago and it sold for a four figure sum despite its diminutive size.

The incredibly short production run was due in no small part to the production cost. Desmond Eyles in Doulton Burslem Wares describes how one medium size vase could sometimes cost £100-£200 and could take nearly a month to complete.

The base of a saucer with the Lactolian name, although that was not always used on every item produced.

Among the small group of artists linked to this ware other than Slater himself, was perhaps naturally Robert Allen who no doubt was responsible for the designs used. It will be of no surprise to also see the name William Skinner, master gilder at Burslem at this time.

A delicate cup and saucer in the Lactolian technique dating to 1902 and carrying an RA number too, telling us today that it came from the studio of Robert Allen.

Royal Doulton goes Dutch Harlem!

An early catalogue page c.1910 featuring Dutch Harlem.

At a time when Holland and all thins Dutch were ‘de rigueur’ Royal Doulton produced various Dutch themed pieces including figures in their HN collection, examples of handpainted wares and also 8 different Dutch themed seriesware designs.

Four pin trays illustrating how scenes could be manipulated and also the variation in colours that can be found.

The focus here is Dutch Harlem, one of Royal Doulton’s most enduringly popular designs of all seriesware patterns. Designed by the great Charles Noke and introduced in 1904, this series alone contained 35 scenes and remained in production until c.1943.

A selection of unusual shapes featuring Dutch Harlem.

As was typical scenes were gradually introduced and even adapted. Such adaptations included enhancing the colours used and introducing new shapes to be used.

Unusual match box cover and stand.

A particularly unusual version of Dutch Harlem was produced exclusively for the great London store Liberty’s, and further exclusive productions of biscuit barrels were produced for the biscuit manufacturers McVitie and Price.

A variety of Dutch themed seriesware items produced by Royal Doulton, including Dutch Harlem.

Royal Doulton seascapes

Inspired by lots in Whitley’s Auctioneers’ sale in just over a week, which will take place as part of a Royal Doulton Convention and Auction weekend January 12-14 (2018) in Orlando, I thought it the perfect opportunity to look more closely at some examples of Royal Doulton’s sea themed work.

Just as with paintings and photography, the sea and sea-life have long provided inspiration for ceramic painters and those at Royal Doulton have produced some magnificent examples covering a wide spectrum of their ranges produced, particularly those wares we today class as Burslem products.

A magnificent Flambé vase with gilded fish against a Sung background.

The wonderful Mermaid figure displayed according to the contemporary advert from 1917.

1920s lustre vase with seascape.

A unique Titanian bowl.

An early Burslem seascape which would probably have had plated fittings to form a biscuit barrel or the like.

For further information on Whitley’s Auctioneers upcoming sale to include many star Royal Doulton works of art, visit:

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/auctioneer/6087/whitley-s-auctioneers/

 

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. 

Doulton’s Hispano Moresque wares

Hispano Moresque was one of John Slater’s first successes at Doulton’s Nile Street works in the early 1880s. 


At the time Doulton at Nile Street only had an earthenware body to use as a medium, which fortunately suited Slater’s revival of the centuries old Hispano Moresque tradition of lustre painting.


Often examples of this red lustre ware can be identified by an ‘Art Ware’ mark in addition to either a typical early Doulton rosette backstamp or simply an impressed Doulton. In addition you can often find an impressed Faience mark on such early pieces.


As well as being an artist John Slater was something of an innovator and collectors will be well aware of many pieces of Burslem and Lambeth ware bearing the term ‘Slater’s Patent’ including Doulton’s famous Chiné ware.


Precise production dates of Hispano Moresque are unknown although it is estimated that unlike its contemporary ‘Spanish ware’, the former’s  production was limited to the 1880s. 

Royal Doulton’s Masquerade pair.

The sheer variety of early figures in Royal Doulton’s HN collection illustrates the lengths that were gone to, to appeal to early collectors as the company tried to discover a popular house style.


Title page of an early figure catalogue.

Of course by the time the Masquerade pair appeared in 1924, the great Leslie Harradine had already been supplying models to the Burslem art studios for a few years. 


A burnished gold HN636 Masquerade.

During the early 20thC there was huge interest in masked and costume balls and the latter must have inspired this pairing and other Chelsea inspired figures from a bygone age in English china manufacturing. 


Masquerade (female) HN 600.


‘Kissing’ Masqueraders HN 600 in china and HN 683 in earthenware.

Interestingly the two Doulton models’ bases fit so that the couple can kiss if the owner so wishes. They appear in this 1920’s figure catalogue titled Personalities and Porcelain along with a group of other early figures. Also of interest to note is that HN683 and HN 637 the last versions of each were actually made in earthenware rather than china like the other versions.


Masquerade HN 599 & 636.

Typical of Doulton’s studios they also experimented with this pair and a handful of other figures, producing examples in burnished gold with ivory face and hand details, imitating gold/bronze and Ivory figurative sculptures from the art nouveau era. 

Doulton’s Photographic Ware

A chance find of a portrait plaque featuring a well known portrait of Sir Henry Doulton has inspired this piece.

Doulton’s Photographic ware is rare with examples dating between 1893-1905 approximately. 

Early plate with a photographic image of Joseph Joachim, a popular violinist.

The method of transferring a photographic image on to transfer paper for application on to a china body was developed by John Slater and examples usually carry a simple Doulton mark and also the predictable “Slater’s Patent” stamp. 

A pair of early Slater’s Patent photographic plates (subjects unknown).

Subjects range from famous stage personalities of the time to other period celebrities.