Category Archives: C. J. Noke

Remember, remember the 5th of November….

…gunpowder, treason and plot!


I’m sure there isn’t a British adult who does not remember the story of Guy Fawkes and his failed attempt to blow up Parliament when in session and thus return a Catholic monarch to the throne. Since his capture on the 5th November 1605 we have celebrated this event annually with large bonfires with a ‘Guy’ atop.
Despite his grizzly end, Guy or Guido Fawkes has been immortalised on many occasions by Royal Doulton in their most popular collections.


One of the first is this large figure designed by Noke himself and available in 3 colourways as well as a modern miniature. I have always thought there must be a picture to go with this figure but to date nothing identical has turned up, save the typical illustrations of him since the foiled plot, such as this one. There has been a newer version of a Guy Fawkes illustrated above HN4784.


Noke’s love of historical characters and events resulted in this wonderful addition to his range of limited edition loving cups and jugs introduced in the 1930’s, complete with detailed description to the base!


And of course he has also been immortalised in Character Jug form too!


Who would have thought that centuries later we would be celebrating this event and a man who was convicted of treason?

An interesting Kingsware Loving Cup.


Another chance find- this Kingsware loving cup from 1905 complete with sterling silver mounts and standing an impressive 13″ tall. No doubt made to commemorate England’s new monarch Edward VII, who succeeded his mother Queen Victoria to the throne in 1901. The cup is emblazoned with the motto “Here’s a health unto his Majesty”. The cup was later adapted to a jug in 1936, to commensurate the approaching coronation of Edward VIII, that of course never happened due to his abdication. This flask version was made for Dewars in a limited edition of 600.


The magnificence of the loving cup has to be seen in the flesh to be appreciated. Certainly the detail is much more vivid than in the later flask, the latter is also missing the cameo image of the Cavalier.


Interestingly the sterling silver mounts are stamped G B & S, for George Betjeman & sons, a prestigious London silversmiths, who commissioned many Doulton Burslem pieces including a Kingsware spirit barrel with tavern scene, Kingsware tobacco jars including the large pipe that can be found and smaller Kingsware ash trays – all with sterling silver mounts supplied by them. In addition to Kingsware, they also commissioned Shagreen items from Doulton for their exclusive store too.

Collecting Royal Doulton Embossed Jugs


We have already looked at Royal Doulton’s ever popular series of a Limited Edition Loving Cups and Jugs, and this series of 7 smaller jugs fit perfectly with their larger, rarer counterparts.
First introduced in the same decade as the larger Jugs and Cups, this set of 7 bear out Charles Noke’s passion for Dickens.

Here are the details for this charming set:
D5584 “Old Curiosity Shop” 1935-60
D5617 “Oliver Twist” 1936-60
D5756 “Pickwick Papers” 1937-60
D6285 “Oliver Asks For More” 1949-60
D6286 “Oliver Twist” tankard 1949-60
D6291 “Old London” 1949-60
D6292 “Peggoty” 1949-60

As always the last ones with the shorter production runs are the most difficult to find today, but a full collection is possible and they make a super display.
There were other relief or embossed Dickens wares but that is for another time! Happy collecting!

Royal Doulton’s Fairies

A catalogue page from 1930.

These sprightly, mythical creatures of many a folklore were immortalised by the great Leslie Harradine for the HN collection in 1930, but interest in all things ‘fairy’ had reached a fever pitch a decade before with the so-called Cottingley fairies; a series of 5 photographs of fairies taken by two young cousins and heralded by Arthur Conan Doyle (author of the Sherlock Holmes stories) as evidence of their existence. Alas the cousins would admit eventually that all but the fifth was faked and that, it has been suggested, was probably the result of a double exposure by the young girls.

Doulton produced at least 7 different figures of fairies from standing with wings, to perched on toadstools to simply hiding in the undergrowth. Each is a charming study of childhood and many were available with differing flowers and even different colourways during their short production in the 1930’s. Certainly the second and sixth versions are the same child as ‘Boy on Pig’ HN1369 attributed to CJ Noke rather than Harradine. There are a further 6 fairies listed but which did not go into production.

Doulton’s Fairies HN1396 and HN1375 were even modelled after the fairy illustrations of Cicely Mary Barker that remain popular to this day.

A display of these figures really is magical, however, tracking them down is just as elusive as finding the real thing…or so it seems!

Finally a Fairy that has fluttered down on to my desk….

Collecting Doulton Barbotine ware – Moonlight


This technique is another unusual ware produced at Burslem in limited quantities around 1930. The particular pattern was actually called ‘Moonlight’ according to Fred Moore who also provided an introduction date of 1927 for this design.

Similar in body to Rembrandt and some Holbein pieces, Barbotine can be found on vases and bowls, plus I have seen a pair of 24″ lamps also in the Moonlight design. Very impressive!
The Moonlight pattern is similar to the drawings of Edmund Dulac, but there are several other designs that have also come to light in the Barbotine technique, yet, they all use the same colour palette of greens and blues with similar stylised designs.
I am sure you’ll agree they are stunning pieces!

Royal Doulton’s Edward VIII loving cup

Original Certificate for this cup.

This commemorative loving cup was made to commemorate the coronation that never was. Edward VIII was born in 1894 and succeeded his father as King in 1936. The story of his abdication and the reasons behind it are now romantic legend, yet he did serve as King for 325 days before deciding to abdicate.

The front of the large jug.

Edward VIII is portrayed in half length on the front if the jug wearing what would have been his coronation regalia, together with the flags for the 4 realms of the UK. The handles bear the names of the countries that now make up the Commonwealth where he was also King.

Detail of one handle.

The reverse of the jug shows St. George on horseback infront of Windsor Castle surrounded by Commonwealth flags and other regalia.

The wonderfully detailed reverse of the large jug.

This large jug was issued in 1937 in an addition of 2000, although only 1080 were sold before the abdication crisis. Modelled by the greats- Noke and Fenton who were responsible for do many wares at this time – the cup bears both signatures.

It is possible to build up a collection of all these limited edition loving cups and jugs and it makes a strong statement when they are all together.

For further information on loving cups and jugs, see the article devoted to them on our Doulton Collectors Club Facebook page.

Royal Doulton’s Gaffers seriesware

An early publicity booklet for the Gaffers pattern.

This quaint series certainly belongs to a different age although the dialect is still associated with the wonderful people of Somerset.

A catalogue page illustrating some if the styles available ca.1924.

The leaflet pictured above comes with a vivid description of his life and routine, even explaining some of his typically ‘Zummerset’ sayings!

The pattern was introduced in 1921 and being popular remained in production until WWII.


A Gaffers ash tray.

There were some 19 different scenes available, designed by the great C. J. Noke and typically bearing his signature; he  had a particular interest in all things literary and other personalities from English heritage.

A large milk jug with scene 1 on it.

The reverse of the same jug with the inscription ‘GAFFERS I be all the way from Zummerset’.

The character, the Gaffer, derives his name from respect as it refers to either an older man or master, not the more common term today for a boss.


A typical 12″ rack plate.

The Gaffer is seen in his typical smock of brown holland or hand-made linen, with either an umbrella or knobbly stick in his hand.


A Gaffers tea cup and saucer.


Unusual Lambeth Glazes to match Burslem’s Sung and Chang

Just as Doulton in Burslem under the direction of Charles Noke were experimenting with glazes in the early 20th Century, so too was his London counterpart Joseph Mott, art Director at Doulton Lambeth.
Mott can truly be said to have seen it all at Doulton as he began working there in the 1880’s when some of Doulton’s most famous artists were in full swing including the Barlows, Mark Marshall etc…
Just as sales at Burslem were on the rise so too began the steady decline of Lambeth wares. However, under Mott’s direction the art department survived for another half century.
Mott had a chemists background so it is no surprise that the following pieces have turned up, all showing the most wonderful types of glaze and most bearing his initials.

A deep-glazed slender vase.

Two ‘hare’s foot’ glaze vases.

An unusual vase signed by Mott.


Two views of a striking crystalline vase.

One piece of stoneware I have at home is a fun Doulton stoneware table tennis bat presented by Mott’s fellow players to him in 1935, and signed by them all.


Mott’s contribution to the Lambeth factory goes far beyond glazes but that is the focus of this piece today.

Doulton’s most unusual glazes: Sung, Chang and Chinese Jade

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.

FLM_Sung Vase Ducks in Flight (Small)

A stunning Sung vase.

I am sure you will agree that these 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.

FLM_Sung Owl with Owlet Wing HN160 (Small)

Sung owls.


These pieces were painted principally by Harry Nixon, Arthur Eaton and Fred Moore. Sung glazes can be found on Buddhas, as can also be 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 can also be found.


Orignial Sung advert ca. 1920.

FLM_Sung Foxes Curled HN117 (Small)

Sung curled foxes.

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.

Another 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.

To finish here are a selection of other glaze pieces from the early 20th Century. Enjoy!

FLM_Sung Vase Gnomes in Tree 13H (Small) FLM_Sung Vase Gourd Shape 6H (Small) FLM_Chang Tobacco Jar (Small) FLM_Chang Vase 3 Tier 11H (Small)

Royal Doulton’s Lustre wares Part 1

Doulton produced their lustre wares from the late 19th Century to the mid 20th Century, so there are plenty of variations to collect. Here is an interesting page from a Doulton catalogue from 1924 showing their range of lustred vases and bowls to collect.


An early catalogue page.

Looking at the price list for these items, they were equivalent to other Doulton wares including Flambé and Titanian. Today these pieces are available at much more modest prices and many interesting shapes in vases etc…can be found.

Lustre is achieved by a thin metallic glaze being fired over the existing glaze. There are several transfer decorated items to collect in this lustre glaze, and one particular favourite of mine is this set featuring a japanese style tree and butterflies.


A group of oriental inspired lustre pieces.

As always with Doulton expect the unexpected for I have seen the interior of vases with lustre glazes where just the flared lip of the vase can be seen to Titanian bowls with a lustre finish either inside and out or just lustred on the inside.


A single view of the tall lustre vase. This shape was popular at the turn of the 20th Century and many fine pieces of handpainted Doulton can be found on this shape.

Figures and animals too were given a lustre glaze and in cases where the piece has lost its lustre it is impossible for us to tell that it would have had a lustre glaze as there was no special backstamp for this ware.