Category Archives: Displays

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.

Doulton’s dog derivatives…

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)…


Ash trays….


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!

Kate Greenaway’s influence on Doulton Seriesware


The style of dress on this early teapot is clearly influenced by the illustrations if Kate Greenaway from Victorian times, although the actual designs on this and the sugar basin below are actually by C. Van Brown.


This aesthetic style is so closely influence by Kate Greenaway that it could be one of her illustrations. She undoubtedly started something of a craze in Victorian times for this style of dress and decoration. She certainly revolutionised children’s books and clothes of the late 19th Century.

The designs illustrated actually belong to the Pastimes series produced around 1902.


It wasn’t until 1978 that doulton actually used some of her illustrations on plates from her illustrations for an Almanack from 1884.

Of course there is also the series of 18 figures introduced from 1976 started by Peggy Davies and continued by Pauline Parsons all based on Kate Greenaway’s style.

Dishes, bookends and calendars!

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!

Doulton’s ‘red’ ladies

Red has long been one of the most popular colours amongst figure collectors, but it took almost 20 years for Doulton to cotton on!

The earliest figures were produced in a rainbow of colours but it wasn’t until the late 1920’s that red colourways of figures began to emerge with the introduction of figures such as Kathleen, Priscilla and Rosina.

Thereafter there has been a parade of other red figures culminating in the late 1930’s and the immediate years after the war with the introduction if three of the most famous Doulton ladies ever: Top o’ the hill, Auntumn Breezes and of course Christmas Morn. The lengthy production of these figures not only stands as popular proof of the model but also the popularity of their colourways!

Here are a selection of my favourite ‘red’ ladies!


Since the introduction of Christmas Morn there have been an array of other ladies in red – perhaps you have them in your collections?

Happy collecting and remember we would love to hear from you on our Doulton Collectors Club Facebook page!