Category Archives: Character Jugs

The rare Toby Gillette Character Jug…Doulton does television

Back in the early 1980’s Doulton was contacted by the producers of the once popular ‘Jim’ll fix it’ show, as they in turn had received a letter from a young boy asking to have a character jug made in his likeness. The move proved a popular one for Doulton and eventually three jugs were made. One was retained by Doulton for their museum, the other given to the young Toby Gillette and the third eventually sold in London and the proceeds (over £15,000) given to charity.

One of our facebook friends, Peter Leese, was involved in the jugs’ production and here is a picture I am sure will thrill you Character Jug collectors of Peter and Toby filling the original mould with slip. Here are the two of them…


The whereabouts of the three jugs are unknown but very likely they will be in collections in the USA as I am sure examples I remember seeing were bought by American Doulton dealers.

Here is the finished product (as seen in Michael Doulton’s Collecting Royal Doulton book).


Thanks for sharing this story Peter!

Dickens Doultonised


Some early Doulton advertising booklets for Dickensware ca. 1912 – the Centenary of Dickens’ birth, together with  2 seriesware trays a calendar with a Dickens figure and an early Tony Weller

When it comes to the works of Dickens, Charles Noke, Doulton’s art director at Burslem was blatantly a fan if not obsessed by all things Dickens.


A facsimile of a letter from Dickens’ son to Doulton & Co. expressing his pleasure at their Dickens range

From the early 20th century and throughout his time as art director and even after, Doulton have produced a wide variety of wares to commemorate Dickens’ works.


Three of Leslie Harradine’s original models for the miniature Doulton Dickens figures

The lengthy of time these many wares were produced mean that there is something for every collector, old and new and something for every pocket size too!


Another of Harradine’s Prototypes, this time the full size Dickens figures, together with an early Mr Pickwick HN556
Here is a glimpse at the sheer variety of wares produced by Doulton, the majority under the direction of Noke himself!


Two sterling silver trays mounted with Dickens miniatures.


Three sizes of character jugs (L, M & S) and a derivative ash bowl


Three Doulton Dickens tinies including Charles Dickens himself

This is but the tip of the so-called iceberg and there are many collectors throughout the world who share Noke’s enthusiasm for all things Dickens. I have been lucky enough to see two huge collections outside the UK, but why not share any unusual finds to our facebooks page? Search for:

Doulton Collectors Club

See you there!


Princess Elizabeth visiting Royal Doulton in 1949 – another video clip

I thought you might all like to see this extra montage of the Queen’s visit to Royal Doulton at Burslem in 1949, when still Princess Elizabeth. Of particular interest is some Seriesware inspired by Brangwyn ware and also the decorating of figures from this period and a comprehensive display of them! Well worth a look!


Check out our Facebook Doulton Collectors Club page for more articles, info and pictures!

Simply search Facebook for the ‘Doulton Collectors Club’ and ask to join, then you can ask questions a view a variety of material from around the world!!!
What are you waiting for?

Puttin’ on the ritz (Part 3) – the introduction of Doulton’s ‘Character Jugs’

The introduction of Doulton’s ‘Character Jugs’

Together with the re-establishment of Staffordshire figure production, Noke senior also strived to re-introduce the long neglected production of Staffordshire Toby Jugs. Thus in the swinging 20’s Noke’s toby jugs of Charlie Chaplin and George Robey were introduced.


The very rare Charlie Chaplin toby jug

These are very rare today, and a further jug of a Huntsman from 1919 were the sole productions, until Doulton introduced their own version of the traditional Toby Jug, more commonly known to us as Character Jugs. Unlike the traditional Toby Jug, Doulton’s Character Jugs focussed on only the head of their character. Thus in 1934 the first Jugs, John Barleycorn and Old Charley, were introduced.


The ever popular John Barleycorn and Old Charley jugs

They were swiftly followed by many other instantly recognisable faces including Sairey Gamp, Dick Turpin and Parson Brown. The first reference to character jugs is recorded in Doulton’s factory design books in 1935. Before the end of 1934 another modeller was coming to the fore of character jug design, he was Harry Fenton, who together with Charles Noke, jointly and later separately were responsible for all the jugs introduced until 1948. The range was quickly expanded to include small size jugs in 1935, and then a medium size in 1938 of 6 dickens jugs, which proved unpopular and were withdrawn in 1948.

Since that time we have grown used to referring to large, small, miniature and tiny jugs. A more recent attempt at medium jugs has been tried but that is for a future article! The late 1930’s also saw the introduction of the first Character Jug derivatives including tobacco jars, musical jugs and even tea pots.


Three wonderful Old Charley derivatives

The beginning of WWII brought the inevitable slowing down of production and the introductions of new jugs just as it did with the figure department, although prototypes were being made such as the infamous Maori and the white matt Winston Churchill loving cup of 1941, produced specially for the ‘American and Empire markets’.


Three views of the famous Winston Chruchill jug

With many hundreds of Jugs having now been introduced, amongst them variations, prototypes and others with often subtle variations, this area of collecting Doulton often becomes intense with a few die hard collectors willing to part with tens of thousands of dollars to secure that one piece. This fever is fuelled by specialist books on the subject as well as many clubs and societies the world over. Here  you can see a selection of particular raritites and favourites…..




An ever popular book on the subject is Jocelyn Lukins’ Collecting Doulton Character Jugs, available exclusively through the link below: