The Royal Doulton figure Newhaven Fishwife HN 1480 is like so many of their period street sellers and character figures, based closely on real life. The Scottish fishwives of Newhaven had a reputation for their beauty and industry. They were hard-bargainers though, and all the fishermen of the Firth of Forth in Edinburgh, Scotland, brought their catches to Newhaven for the fishwives to sell in Edinburgh city.
Just like the Doulton figure, the fishwives of Newhaven wore distinctive costumes of layers of colourfully striped petticoats with a muslin cap or other similar headdress, together with a scarf, the tassels of which you can make out in the picture and also around the neck of the figure itself. Their fish, including haddock and herring, were carried on their backs in creels, again just like the figure.
The Newhaven Fishwife although introduced in the 1930s, was not a Leslie Harradine figure, but a model by Harry Fenton, more famously associated today with Doulton’s Character Jugs. She is recorded as having been produced between 1931-37, however, her scarcity reinforces the reality that many figures were made to order rather than being readily available.
We are all no doubt familiar with the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin from our own childhoods, the hero who rid the town of its rat problem but who then turned on the town after its residents refused to pay him the agreed sum for his services.
Doulton’s range of limited edition loving cups and jugs are avidly collected around the world and their enduring popularity can be attributed to the fantastic detail and riot of colour present on each of the 30 plus examples first produced in 1930.
Originally the brain child of Charles Noke, he was often assisted by another of Doulton’s most skilled craftsmen, Harry Fenton and both of their signatures can be found on their work.
Doulton’s Pied Piper Jug was produced in a limited edition of 600 pieces in 1934 and designed by both Noke and Fenton. Measuring 10″ it depicts the two aspects of the famous take on each side: the removal of the rats watched over by the mayor and then the children leaving after the town’s refusal to pay the Piper his fee. As was typical of these limited edition pieces the base is also of great interest; here there is a version of the tale printed for collectors.
Of course the story is actually based on legend although it’s precise origins are not clear. Certainly the town in Germany, Hamelin, exists and plays upon this famous legend. A stained glass window once in the town and dating to 1330 depicted the tale and it is well documented in the Luneburg manuscript (c.1440-50) where the story is recounted in detail.
Whether you collect just these limited edition jugs or Royal Doulton generally, this piece will sit perfectly with a collection of similar jugs and there are also a plethora of other Pied Piper related Doulton items from Character Jugs to figures to collect, to make an eye-catching display!