Category Archives: Artists

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 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

Introducing Royal Doulton’s newest Bunnykins Figure ‘The Fair Jester’ a DCC exclusive! 

Here at last is the newest member of Royal Doulton’s legendary Bunnykins family The Fair Jester.


The Fair Jester a DCC exclusive for 2017.

Royal Doulton’s Bunnykins characters have been entertaining us since 1934 and this summer The Fair Jester will be the Doulton Collectors Club fair exclusive at the summer Doulton show (11th June 2017) being held at the World Of Wedgwood, Royal Doulton’s home.


Here The Fair Jester sits perfectly with other members of the Bunnykins family.

Issued in a limited edition of 300, The Fair Jester comes with a certificate of authenticity carrying each individual Bunnykins’ serial number and he is presented in a typical Bunnykins box.


The Fair Jester (Ltd Ed 300).

To reserve this new Bunnykins figure, just email doultoncc@gmail.com

Looking forward to seeing you at the June event!

The inspiration behind Royal Doulton’s Easter Day.

Collectors of Royal Doulton’s world famous figurines are aware of the many sources that inspired figures from stars of the theatre, to calendar and card designs published by the likes of Raphael Tuck & sons.

However, one particular star of Royal Doulton’s HN range was inspired by the great actress Vivien Leigh in her role in the legendary film Gone with the Wind in which she played Scarlett O’Hare.

Here you can see a press cutting along with an early dated version of Easter Day from 1943; incidentally two years after she was originally modelled. Also in the picture is a very similar looking prototype from 1942 that I display along side the large size figure.

Collecting Doulton Tobacco Jars.

For collectors the beauty of Royal Doulton is the diversity of its wares. When it comes to collecting tobacco jars this statement is particularly pertinent!


Tinworth designed tobacco jar and a Tinworth menu holder c.1885.

Whether you prefer the products of the Lambeth factory or the pottery examples from their Staffordshire factories – there is something to suit every collector.


Four Lambeth examples: Chiné, simulated metal, Silicon and an art nouveau example.

Lambeth examples can be found by leading artists including the legendary George Tinworth, to repeat designs created by leading in-house artists, to more mass produced examples including Doulton’s famous Chiné technique. Rare novelty examples also exist such as the one illustrated modelled as a weight!


Burslem examples: two Kingsware jars featuring Mr Pickwick and Parson Brown, a Reco Capey example and a seriesware Barnaby Rudge piece.

Pottery examples from Burslem typically fit into the following categories: art wares, Kingsware or seriesware as can be seen above.

Collecting tobacciana is a worldwide phenomenon so it is no surprise to see rare examples fetch high prices but a collection can be assembled of more modest varieties of Doulton wares such as the Chiné or Silicon examples above.

Royal Doulton’s Figure Darling – where it all began!

Or rather where the then new figure range began in 1913 – is perhaps how that heading should read.

Darling in his original size with HN 1 at the fore, the HN 1371 and of course the more frequently found HN 1319.

In reality Darling was not the first figure in the HN collection but due to Queen Mary’s famous christening of him with her statement “Isn’t he a darling” – he was given the prestigious number 1 in the new number sequence.

Typical early base, this time belonging to HN 1. Note the actual number of figures painted on the inside ‘349’!

Designed by Charles Vyse who would later inspire Doulton’s famous balloon sellers, Darling was produced in his original size of 19cm in four colourways – HN 1 in a pale blue grey nightshirt, HN 1319 in a white nightshirt with black base and then HN 1371 and 1372 in green and pink nightshirts respectively and both with black bases. Of all these originally size models it is HN 1371 and 1372 which are the particularly rare examples.

In the post WWII period Darling was remodelled in the now smaller and most familiar size of 13cm as HN 1945 and remained in production as such until 1997. A lovely additional version of him HN 3613 for Peter Jones the China specialist was introduced to mirror the original HN 1 colouring in 1993.

Only one further model of this charming young boy has been produced and that was for Royal Doulton’s 200th Anniversary Icons series as HN 5648 in a smaller size again of 10cm!

The now mid size Darling HN 3613 with his smaller Icons series counterpart HN 5648, pictured against the first figure booklet from 1913. Note the reference to Queen Mary and ‘Now at Buckingham Palace’! 

All in all Darling proved to be the first of one of Royal Doulton’s most popular collecting themes when it comes to figures – children! 

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.