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….
Just when your cabinets are full to capacity you discover that there is something else to collect – so say all collectors!
Similarly with Doulton’s array of dogs, there is a derivative for everyone be it ….
A pencil holder/pin tray….
A bust of your favourite breed…
A bookend (shown minus the mahogany mount)…
And even brooches…
As with everything Doulton…they aimed to cater for every taste and the variety of objects that can be found is limitless and not restricted to the examples above.
On my own desk I have a calendar with a character Pekingese puppy and a stamp dish with a character fox.
The fun in collecting is not knowing what is around the corner and this field of collecting Doulton certainly offers that variety! Happy collecting!
Collectors are often bemused to see their cherished figures mounted on bookends, calendars and dishes! This trend began in the early 1920’s at the same time as the figure lamps were produced.
‘M’ series miniatures are perhaps most often associated with bookends and certain calendars like these below.
Occasionally very rare figures turn up mounted on bases, such as this Crinoline Lady pin tray.
Harradine’s small Dickens figures appear mounted on a variety of bases, like this selection too.
Small Doulton animals are also found mounted as many different objects but particularly desk furniture. Here is a comical fox I found mounted as a stamp tray.
And also a Sealyham begging mounted on this calendar.
As many of you know Pekingese play an important part of my life and I have managed to assemble this small group of objects all with mounted Pekingese!
Many of these objects, especially those mounted with sterling fittings would have been retailed by top jewellers of the period including Asprey and Garrards in London. Even more ‘normal’ objects such as pin trays were given sterling mounts so as to make them exclusive objects for top jewellers, such as this Shagreen pin dish (in an unusual blue) which has been given silver mounts to turn it into an an ashtray!
This is only a sample of possible objects, and we would love to hear from you if you have other items mounted with Royal Doulton on our Doulton Collectors Facebook page!