Category Archives: C. J. Noke

‘Spook-tacular’ Royal Doulton!

Nothing could be more appropriately named than Royal Doulton’s figures ‘A Spook’ and ‘Spooks’; the latter an adaptation of the first. 


Two modern Royal Doulton tobies reflecting the ongoing influence early figures have on today’s design studio.

A Spook, designed by Harry Tittensor, was introduced in 1916 and was available to order until 1936, with a total of 8 official colourways to choose from. The last HN1218 was introduced in 1926, exactly 10 years after his original introduction. 


A Titanian Spook by H. Tittensor.


An example of a true base to A Spook.

Interestingly a miniature version, without HN or M number has also been discovered, although when it comes to fake Royal Doulton, it is this miniature figure which crops up most! No doubt due to the ease of producing him in this small scale. 


The rare miniature Spook.

Things got a bit spookier in 1918 for the HN Collection, when Doulton’s great art director Charles Noke adapted the original single figure to bring collectors his ‘Spooks’ or ‘Double Spook’ HN88 (1918-36). Just like their individual counterpart, Spooks was also available to order until 1936 and also available in alternate colourways; in their case just three. 


Spooks HN89.

A Spook and Spooks can be found in unusual glazes including Titanian, to which they lend themselves perfectly. 


The wonderfully detailed HN372 photographed by J. Lukins and which appears in the figure ‘bible’! 

Royal Doulton Spotlight: the Limited Edition “Pied Piper Jug” (1934).

We are all no doubt familiar with the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin from our own childhoods, the hero who rid the town of its rat problem but who then turned on the town after its residents refused to pay him the agreed sum for his services. 

  
Doulton’s range of limited edition loving cups and jugs are avidly collected around the world and their enduring popularity can be attributed to the fantastic detail and riot of colour present on each of the 30 plus examples first produced in 1930. 

  
Originally the brain child of Charles Noke, he was often assisted by another of Doulton’s most skilled craftsmen, Harry Fenton and both of their signatures can be found on their work.

Doulton’s Pied Piper Jug was produced in a limited edition of 600 pieces in 1934 and designed by both Noke and Fenton. Measuring 10″ it depicts the two aspects of the famous take on each side: the removal of the rats watched over by the mayor and then the children leaving after the town’s refusal to pay the Piper his fee. As was typical of these limited edition pieces the base is also of great interest; here there is a version of the tale printed for collectors.

  
Of course the story is actually based on legend although it’s precise origins are not clear. Certainly the town in Germany, Hamelin, exists and plays upon this famous legend. A stained glass window once in the town and dating to 1330 depicted the tale and it is well documented in the Luneburg manuscript (c.1440-50) where the story is recounted in detail.

  
Whether you collect just these limited edition jugs or Royal Doulton generally, this piece will sit perfectly with a collection of similar jugs and there are also a plethora of other Pied Piper related Doulton items from Character Jugs to figures to collect, to make an eye-catching display! 

  

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: http://www.paulwebsterantiques.co.uk

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

Royal Doulton – all that glitters…

….may not be solid gold, but nevertheless it is gold that is used to decorate many of Doulton’s most extravagant Burslem wares produced during the last two centuries!

  
Whether it be wares including Doulton’s famous Spanishware with its gold tracery or the prestigious acid gold etching that is found on quality exhibition items and tea wares (both of which can be seen in the illustration), or else burnished gold to decorate their famous figures, Doulton has always produced something gold to suit every collector. 

Many of the elaborate gilt design of the 20th Century were designed by Robert Allen, who ran an art department at Burslem and who worked closely with Doulton’s art director CJ Noke on many of their famous lines. Allen’s designs were brought to life by a small band of expert gilders such as Thomas Morton or the Williams Massey and Skinner.

The sheer variety of Doulton’s gilded wares really does mean that there is something for every collector and let us not forget that whilst gilding is not typically associated with their Lambeth wares, it was used on chiné and the gold whorl patterns for decades and can be found on some artist pieces most notable in my experience on the work of Francis C. Pope. 

Collecting Doulton rabbits and hares.

  
Mary Bunnykins (1939) who bears a striking resemblance the the earlier lop earred rabbit below. 

There are stories of a school age Charles Noke borrowing clay from the Worcester factory, a favourite visiting place for his father, to model animals and it was Noke who started the HN animal collection at Burslem. 

  
Lop earred rabbit and hare in a black glaze. 

There are many hare and rabbit models to collect, with many of them also found in flambé. These early models generally ceased production in all colourways -natural, flambé or other – by the mid 20th Century but a handful including the small lop earred rabbit continued to the end of the 20th Century so if collecting it is essential to read up on production dates to gauge the prices you should be paying. 

  
Very unusual rabbit and young. A larger version was made of this model as often happened at Lambeth, intended to be a garden ornament. 

The rabbit and the hare have a strong history in myth and folklore, stemming back through their apparent 4000 year history – explaining mankind’s on-going love of these furry animals. Today the rabbit in particular is still a popular domestic pet. 

  
Two further versions of the Hare HN 126 & HN 273.

The Chinese believe the hare or rabbit is ‘the man in the moon’ whilst Taoist beliefs say that these lovable animals derive their essence from the moon! Perhaps it is their nocturnal habits that have led to these beliefs! 

Doulton animals offer collectors -old and new – a great scope for building a collection for the HN animal collection continued into the post war period up until the 1980’s with new introductions throughout those years and in the 1990’s there was a new range -the DA range of animals introduced. Even today Doulton produce the occasional animal. 

Noke the artist! 

Collectors forget that Noke despite his excellent reputation as a modeller was also an accomplished artist. Signed pieces are hard to come by as is highlighted by the fact that each of these bowls – the largest 23cm diameter – was purchased on separate occasions. 

  
I had previously believed that they could have been the work of Noke junior but the largest piece can be dated to 1918, prior to his commencement and training at Doulton. 

Collecting Doulton’s famous Gnomes ‘B’ seriesware.

  
9″ plate D4697.

Often referred to as the Doulton version of Wedgwood’s famous Fairyland Lustreware, the Gnomes pattern illustrated is derived from drawings by the great illustrator Arthur Rackham for Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, which also provided the inspiration for Doulton’s early figurine Pretty Lady who is based on an illustration for Wendy. The designer of this Doulton pattern is of course Charles Noke, then Art Director at Doulton’s Burslem factory.

  
Unusual rectangular plate.

Introduced c.1925 it is a perennially popular pattern that collectors clamour for when it does turn up at auction or through dealers. Although in production until c.1950 examples of it are hard to find and typically teawares are what do turn up in the form of plates and trios.

 
Early catalogue page featuring Gnomes ‘B’. 

There are five recorded scenes as listed by Louise Irvine in her book Series Ware Vol.3, although again it is scene 1 which is the most frequently found, again on plates.

  
Unusual sandwich tray. 

As with all seriesware patterns, a collection  masterly displayed makes quite a statement in the home! 

  
Rare oatmeal bowl with unusual, plain border. 

For reference, there are 3 recorded D numbers for this pattern – D4697, D4899 and D5066 and this ‘B’ pattern is not to be confused with the earlier ‘A’ pattern. Also, in the USA it is referred to as ‘Munchkins’.