Category Archives: Displays

Royal Doulton’s Helen, her origins and her successor! 

The inspiration behind many of Doulton’s earliest figures comes from contemporary paintings and such is the case with Harradine’s Helen introduced in 1932.

Helen HN 1508 with the Webster picture that inspired her.

It was not unusual for complicated figures to be re-modelled after problems arise in their manufacture or because they are too complicated to produced or simply because of market response (Consider Sweet Maid who became Millicent with a fuller skirt). 

Helen HN 1572 (1933) and June HN 1947 (1940).

Thus Helen became the popular figure June HN 1690 (1935) with an altered skirt and now holding a bouquet of flowers, which was again re-issued after WWII in slightly more muted tones and simplified flowers and detail to the modelling.


The original three: HN 1690, 1691 and 1947.

The withdrawal dates for the figure Helen say ‘by 1938’ but we can presume that the production was actually much shorter based on the fact that June was introduced in 1935 and I certainly haven’t seen any ‘Helens’ dated after 1934 – but perhaps you have? If so, why not share her with us on our facebook page ‘Doulton Collectors Club’! 


Collecting Doulton’s Coaching Days seriesware pattern.

One of Doulton’s most popular seriesware lines remains their Coaching Days series. Introduced in 1905 and finally withdrawn in 1955, examples from this series can be found but earlier shapes and ceramic bodies make certain pieces more sought after! 

Earthenware was the typical body but examples can be found on a china body. The series was originally designed by Victor Venner between c.1904-1924, with unknown others contributing designs too. 

With 20 recorded scenes and a multitude of shapes that the series can be found on, this series provides much scope for collectors to assemble an impressive display. Above is a pin tray from my own collection. 

Unusual scenes do turn up such as the one on the small pie crust dish. Labelled as E3804, it is an unusual find and on china too, hence the E number.  


Examples of Coaching Days are easily confused with both ‘Royal Mail’ and ‘Hunting John Peel’ scenes and do display well together! 

Collecting Doulton leatherware and blackjacks!

Two blackjacks with silver collars dating them to 1891 and 1900.

These simulated blackjacks and other items date from 1887-c. 1914 and are realistic to the eye with stitching and also the imitation of various types of leather. 

Leatherware motto jugs and drinking cups.

These wares, typically jugs, can be found with applied mottos again in imitation stitching and were considered to be of sufficient quality to be produced with silver mounts too. 

Rare copper and leatherware jug.

Rarely examples of Leatherware and Copperware have been found used together, the two colours making a striking contrast.

Unusual nursery jug with elaborate silver collar from 1905.

Novelty items can also be found including a match holder and this children’s mug featuring the rhyme ‘Tom, Tom the piper’s son’. 


Doulton’s Dutch Masterpieces.

We have looked at some popular Dutch themes already, but I love a collecting and indeed display theme so it is time to look at it a new!

A mixture of the popular and unusual Doulton Dutch Seriesware patterns and shapes. 

The wonder of Seriesware is that it offers something for every collector – for new collectors there are many familiar faces to collect and for the die hard collector you never quite know what will turn up! 

Four pin dishes illustrating the variety of seriesware that can be found! 

There was even a version of this popular theme created specially for Liberty of London with a blue sky. 

Two colourways of popular 1930’s Dutch figures Annette and Gretchen, and an illustration showing the popularity of all things Dutch in the early 20th Century.

Even well into the 1930’s Doulton were producing their Dutch figures such as Gretchen and Derrick and a glimpse through catalogues and adverts for major stores including Liberty of London, proves the then popularity of all things Dutch with page after page of Dutch inspired decorative items for the home.  


The popular pair Gretchen and Derrick.

Collectors show great invention when displaying their collections and whilst some mix seriesware and figures excellently, others rely on illustrations to emphasise the theme they are creating, such as the picture below by AK Macdonald, who inspired a small group of Leslie Harradine’s figures in the 1930’s. 


Perhaps you arrange your collection in a particular way? If so why not share it with us on our Doulton Collectors Club facebook page! 

Collecting Doulton’s ‘Ladies of the Fan’.


 Eugene HN1521, Fleurette HN1587 and Lisette HN1524.

Whatever you particular interest in Doulton figures you soon realise that themes do occur within collections, such as those ladies with feet popping out under the hems of skirts or those carrying parasols.


Teresa HN1682.

Another theme are the bevy of beauties teasing their admirers with their colourful fans.


Miranda HN1818 and Mariquita HN1837.

With a history stretching back over 3000 years, it is the fans of the 18th and 19th centuries that typically appear on Doulton ladies. First seen here when merchants from Asia returned with them, those appearing on Doulton ladies are the folding type – again a relatively modern adaptation of the traditional fixed type. 


Eleanor HN1754.

Perhaps you collect figures according to a different theme? If so why not share them on our facebook page – Doulton Collectors Club! 

The International Ceramics and Glass Fair and 200 Years of Royal Doulton – an event not to be missed!

Don’t forget the world’s major Doulton extravaganza is just around the corner!

To reserve your tickets visit

And follow this link-


Doulton’s flair for fashion

Shortly after the Art Deco period there was a time in the 1930’s when Hollywood glamour became ‘the’ look and typically Royal Doulton roze to the challenge of producing a stream of stylish 1930’s ladies.

Among the first such figures is undoubtedly Clothilde shown here in three colourings. Her wrap dress and long cape capture the Hollywood style perfectly.
The ever popular Clothilde.

Almost a partner to Clothilde is Gloria in her daytime attire and chic clutch so evocative of this decade.

Gloria HN1488.

A favourite of mine which fits perfectly into this group is Windflower, a model of a young girl walking into a summer’s breeze, deftly holding her hat in place.

Windflower HN1764.

The glamorous Nadine looks as though she has just walked off the screen from a big Hollywood production set on the French Riviera with her cartwheel hat and extravagant sash bow.

Nadine HN1885.

Moving to the boudoir we have the ever stylish and rare figure The Mirror, seen admiring herself in her hand mirror.

The Mirror HN1882.

No doubt engaged in conversation is the unusual figure Sweet & Fair, seen here perched on her elegant chair in her simply stylish ensemble.

Sweet & Fair HN1864.

A final figure which belongs to this typical sized Doulton lady is Rhythm, seen here swaying gently to the music. She is a particularly hard figure to find today and her short production run was no doubt the result of her elongated arms, which are as fragile as they look.


Two views of Rhythm HN1903.

Before we finish there is one more figure to mention, namely the wonderful figure The Lambeth Walk. She is seen carefully taking a step to the tune of the same name from the hit musical Me and My Girl. My reason for leaving her to last is not her insignificance but rather her size – she unlike her counterparts stands a magnificent 25 cms tall and so is instantly distinguishable from this band of glamorous gals!

The Lambeth Walk HN1880.

As you will be able to tell this latter group of Hollywood style figures all date from the same period and their HN numbers are all in the late 1800’s. Together they create something of a wow factor as I am sure you can imagine!

Royal Doulton’s early Child figures.

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L-R Darling HN1319 and HN1.

The prominence and popularity of Darling HN1 has proved over the last century that child figures are among the most popular Doulton have produced as part of the HN figure collection. Darling was sculpted by the great Charles Vyse and as was often the case in the first half of the twentieth Century, Charles Noke, Doulton’s art director approached prominent sculptors of the time to provide models for possible inclusion in the collection.  In the first decade of production of the HN collection Darling remained a clear favourite of collectors, it is therefore no surprise to see that many other child studies followed this iconic sculpture. These first studies remained somewhat sculptural, just like Darling, who was succeeded by a line-up of other famous faces including Dolly, Shy Anne HN60, the Coquette HN20 and a handful of Noke’s own studies such as the very rare Boy on Crocodile HN373.


Shy Anne HN65.

It was not until the 1920’s when a former apprentice modeller from their Lambeth factory, one Leslie Harradine, began to submit models to Doulton in Burslem that the typical figures we all now know as child figures began to emerge.

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A group of Harradine children.

Harradine revolutionised the collection from the very start, introducing much slicker lines and also a smaller size in figure.

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A group of early 1930’s child figures.

Classic Harradine child figures such as Betty HN1404 and Pinkie HN1552 are easily recognisable not only as Doulton but also as the work of Harradine. His ability to interpret moods and trends was unrivalled at the time and I am sure all other factories would have been envious of Doulton’s great in house talent. Ironically no visit by Harradine was ever recorded to Burslem, instead former employees recall the monthly arrival of a parcel from Harradine and the stir it would cause in the factory. It is a tribute to Harradine that so few prototypes from his time as lead figure sculptor have turned up, indicating that the majority of his models actually went into production.

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Three deco children: Monica, Pinkie and Rosebud.

Harradine’s ability and versatility brought us a long line of youthful figures including Rose HN1368 and Marie HN1370, an aptly named pairing available in several complimentary colourings, Bo-Peep HN1810 and Cissie HN1808 another pairing and other popular figures such as Diana HN1716, Lily HN1798 and Nana HN.

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Rose and Marie in complimentary colourways.

Yet, Harradine did not restrain himself to small size figures and his large size Estelle is still highly sought after by collectors the world over.

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Estelle HN1566.

One of the last child study series modelled by Harradine and introduced by Doulton was a set of Nursery Rhyme figures. Harradine, together with a then new but equally talented modeller, Peggy Davies, were set the task of interpreting key figures from popular children’s nursery rhymes for this set. I am sure you will all agree the effectiveness of these models secures both artists reputations as expert modellers as each study is the embodiment of the verse it represents.

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Four nursery rhymes characters including a prototype of Little Miss Muffit.

The fact that several of these key figures within the HN collection remained in production until close to the millennium confirms the popular demand the world over for child studies, something that Doulton to this day continues to ‘feed’ with the introduction of new child studies. As seems to always be the case imitation should be construed as flattery and so to finish, here is a version of Darling made by another Staffordshire pottery next to a Doulton version from 1934 – the quality of the Doulton model leaps out.

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Doulton’s Darling HN1319 together with an inferior copy


Collecting Royal Doulton’s Maid figures


Thinking of collecting themes, one which is often overlooked is that of Doulton’s group of maids, be they serving girls and women, or alternatively the name once given to young girls.

Of course there are a handful of figures with ‘maid’ in their names such as Sweet Maid HN1505 a classic, bonneted Doulton lady or Sweet Maid HN2092 a bride on her wedding day.

This group of maid figures, however, do not have ‘maid’ in their names, rather they are named after typical serving girl names such as Jane or the French Suzette.

The figure Dorcas appears to be modelled on an advert for Dorcas towels from the 1930’s and also derives her name thus.

Of course arranging figures by colour is always popular. Here are three figures I think go well together.


Another figure that is based upon an illustration is this version of Spring Flowers. For some unknown reason this colourway, which is directly based upon a Wheatley ‘Cries of London’ illustration was not introduced until 1940 whereas the original 1937 version is an entirely made up Doulton colourway. Personally I prefer the red and green version.


Perhaps you arrange your collection in a particular way? If so join our Facebook page ‘Doulton Collectors Club’ to share and also see what other collectors collect and cherish!

Doulton goes Dutch!

In the first three decades of the 20th Century there was a real vogue for all things Dutch! No one today can quite explain this phenomenon but it reached all parts of British life with adverts featuring people in Dutch dress to the famous London store Liberty of London selling Dutch inspired gift ware. My own explanation is that it was perhaps that the traditions in a Holland were still so strong whereas they had been lost in many other European countries by this point in time.

Nevertheless, Doulton were certainly on this band wagon creating their famous seriesware pattern Dutch Harlem, a variation if which was even made specifically for Libertys!

A miniature tyg in Dutch Harlem.

Equally charming are the two seriesware plates at the top of the page, with a deco Doulton figure named Derrick also in Dutch dress.

Doulton’s figure range contained a handful of Dutch figures, all the inspiration of Doulton’s famous modeller Leslie Harradine and all dating to the 1930’s.

Here are Gretchen and Annette.

And here is a colourway of Gretchen from 1930.

A child group entitled Willy-Won’t-He was also introduced in 1933.

Other Doulton wares featured Dutch scenes such as this rustic Holbein ware vase painted with a windmill scene.

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A rare Holbein vase ca. 1900.

This vogue for all things Dutch seems to have stopped at the end if the 1930’s but these charming pieces serve to remind us of these halcyon days.