Category Archives: Displays

Doulton’s Nursery Rhyme figures

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A page from a Doulton leaflet advertising their new Nursery Rhymes series in 1949

Some of Doulton’s earliest introductions to the HN range are inspired by lines from nursery rhymes. Consider Tittensor’s The Land of Nod HN56 or The Little Land HN63 also by Tittensor. In addition we have the very distinctive child models supplied to Doulton by Perugini in 1916, including Upon her Cheeks she Wept HN59, named after a line from Herrick’s “Upon Electra’s Tears” from the 17th Century.
Some of Doulton’s most popular nursery rhyme figures were created by Leslie Harradine and Peggy Davies. They are of course exquisitely modelled, as we would expect and are testament to the skill of all the Doulton artists involved in their production.

Here are some extracts from the same Doulton leaflet from 1949 advertising this new range of figures.

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Leslie Harradine’s Once upon a time HN 2047 (above and below)

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Peggy Davies’ Curly Locks HN2049 (above and below)

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One final figure we can now add to this collection of Nursery Rhymes figures is this charming prototype for Miss Muffet, that no doubt did not go into production due to the success of Harradine’s earlier Miss Muffet HN1936 and HN1937.

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The idea of Nursey Rhyme inspired figures has continued into recent times with a new collection by Adrian Hughes from the 1980’s.

A collection of these Nursery Rhymes figures makes an eye catching display and evokes all those pleasant memories of childhood as we recollect those charming lines from our favourite nursery rhymes.

Dickens Doultonised

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Two sterling silver trays mounted with Dickens miniatures.

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

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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!
Christopher

 

100 Years of Doulton figures

Check out this link for a look at the first chapter in the 100 years of Doulton figures by me and published by Seaway China.

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Here is the first page of the HN figure decoration book

Click to access 1-11_cover-doulton-insight.pdf

 

Here is a sample:

Few people in 1913 would have imagined that this article would be being written to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Royal Doulton’s HN Collection. It was not after all Doulton’s first attempt at a introducing a figure range and many other famous factories had attempted and failed at this ambition. In 1893 at the World Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, a handful of figurative models by one of Doulton’s newest recruits Charles J. Noke were among their exhibits. These minimally decorated figures, now commonly referred to as Vellum Figures, met with a mixed reception from the buying public and Noke’s ambition of reviving the once famous, Staffordshire figure production was put on hold as his attention was drawn away by other projects including the introduction of Kingsware, Rembrandtware, Holbeinware, Hyperionware, the famous flambé glazes and the introduction of Doulton’s Series Ware with patterns such as the popular Dickens series. The range of Vellum Figures was very much influenced by the products of the Worcester factory where Noke had worked for some sixteen years until leaving to join Doulton in Burslem in his early 30’s. He would later comment that he joined Doulton ‘not for the money but for the freedom’ as Henry Doulton famously allowed his artists free rein.

A timely visit to the Doulton Burslem factory in April 1913 by England’s then King George V and Queen Mary provided a re-newed impetus to Noke’s desire to launch a new range of figures. In the years preceding this visit Noke had been approaching a carefully selected group of artists to provide models for Royal Doulton to reproduce in ceramic. It is reported that the new range of figures was completed in late 1912 but the launch of the range was held back to coincide with the Royal visit, and what a good decision this proved to be as Queen Mary would become a fan of the range making many purchases over the coming decades. In Royal Doulton’s brochures from the 1920’s and 1930’s they even pin pointed the figures Her Majesty had purchased – it undoubtedly proved very useful to have the most famous lady in the land favouring their figures.

 

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!

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/princess-elizabeth-visits-the-potteries/query/Doulton

 

Still on the topic of ‘Reflections’…here is Lady and Blackamoor HN375 and her inspiration!

This original illustration is by the popular illustrator Jennie Harbour and clearly is the source for Tittensor’s Lady and Blackamoor. Interestingly this example spotted at the Seaway China/Whitley event in Detroit 2009, is modelled as a powder bowl and the base separates from the rest to provide a place for the powder and puff! The colouring of HN375 is identical to that of HN374, but the former indicates that it is modelled as a powder bowl.

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Illustration by Jennie Harbour ‘Powder and Patches’.

 

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And here is the rare Lady and Blackamoor HN375 to compare to the original.

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?

Complimentary Colourways – displaying your Doulton

As soon as the term colourway is used, many suddenly think of the unique and unusual. Doulton, however, seem to have had a much wider view of the term. Certainly during the inter-war years of the 1920’s and 1930’s many figures were available in colourways to compliment existing figures in the range. Take for example the selection of two-tone green figure: Barbara (HN1461), Paisley Shawl (HN1460), Patricia (HN1462), Miss Demure (HN1463), Sweet Anne (HN1453) and Victorian Lady (HN1452).

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Clearly this set was produced to compliment one another. Other such sets include Sweet Anne(HN1496), Dorcas (HN1558) and Priscilla (HN1559);

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Another group is Veronica (HN1650), Sweet and Twenty (HN1649), Janet (HN1652) and Camille (HN1648) (not illustrated); and below you can see Pantalettes (HN1362), Victorian Lady (HN1345) and Sweet Anne (HN1318);

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As can be seen from the illustrations here, even the ‘M’ range figures reflect this trend. Child figures too can be group together in complimentary colouring such as Monica (HN1467) and Marie (HN1635) below.

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A clear favourite colourway amongst  collectors has of course always been the ‘red’ figures and this began in the 1920’s when figures such as Spanish Lady (HN1294) and then later Marguerite (HN1948) and Christmas Morn (HN1992) began to appear. A paricular favourite of mine has always been Pantalettes (HN1709) seen below.

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Whatever your reasons for collecting, once you have a sizable group of figures you are sure to find a theme or group that will help create your perfect display and of course that is part of the fun of collecting – how to display your collection to its best advantage.

If you have any particular groupings that you have put together please write in with a picture for us to all share!