Category Archives: History

Key Burslem Dates Part II

Part II : 1900-1929

1900       Cuthert Bailey, a Chemist joined Doulton & Co.

Ivory Body introduced

Hyperion and Morrisian wares introduced

1901       Gibson Girl designs introduced

1902       Lion and Crown Backstamp used for Royal Doulton

1904       Flambé – experimental wares begun

1905       Mandarin and Crested wares introduced, together with Christmas miniatures

1906       Seriesware introduced

1907       Crystalline introduced

1908       Flambé aninals first seen and Dickensware introduced

1911       First attempts at a new figure range begun

1913       Famous visit to Burslem by King George and Queen Mary to Doulton at Nile St.

HN Figures and animals launched

1914       John Slater Art Director at Burselm retires. Charles J. Noke takes up the reins

1915       Titanian wares introduced

1916       Reco Capey lustre and flambé designs introduced

1919       John Slater purchases the Slater Collection

1920       Barbotine, Chinese Jade and Sung launched

1924       Shagreen and Maori wares introduced

1925       Chang launched

1929       Classic Doulton figure ‘Old Balloon Seller’ introduced

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An early view of the Doulton studio ca. 1910

Part 2 of my celebration of 100 Years of Doulton’s HN Collection for Seaway China

Here is another link, this time to part 2 of my account of the first 100 years of Doulton’s HN collection of figures, published naturally by Seaway China.

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http://seawaychina.net/pdfs/catalog/summer2013/2013-Summer-Catalog-cover-and-features.pdf

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.

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

http://seawaychina.net/pdfs/catalog/spring2013/1-11_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.

 

How to recognise a prototype…

One of the most heart stopping moments for any collector is the moment they hope that they have spotted a prototype figure. The hunt for prototypes is, however, a real mine field as there are always unscrupulous people out there wanting to cash in on our desire for that one special piece for our collections. That is why my advice is always to buy from a reputable dealer with a proven track record for discovering and supplying the unusual!

I have recently been asked for advice from Karyn and Gordon Harvey on the figure below from their collection, purchased recently and something they hope is a prototype. Here are the pictures they sent in.

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My initial thoughts were that it was clearly a Peggy Davies figure; note the style of the head and the hair and also the detailed modelling. At this time I think she really was trying to imitate Harradine, before developing her own individual style. The head and hair are very reminicent to her figures The Leisure Hour and also Promenade.  One give away to any unknown figure is always the face – I once heard that only after 10 years in the figure department would a painter be allowed to paint faces! Here we can see a very typical Doulton face of the 1950’s. Then we look at the base, and whilst there is a Doulton stamp – this cannot be taken in isolation to say for definite that it is a Doulton figure. However, here you can clearly see an impressed model number. Alas the shape books and design books are no longer available for us to consult, but through my own research I have put together a numbering sequence which leads me to believe that the model dates from the early 1950’s, and specificially to ca. 1953 and I am confident in saying that it is a Doulton piece.

Many prototypes from this time appear to be the work of Peggy Davies, a time when Doulton themselves were trying to rationalise production but also manage the cost effective production of their famous figures. No doubt this particular piece was deemed too expensive to reproduce due to the detailed modelling.

Earlier prototypes and colourways often carry the artist who painted them’s initials. In my experience there are two names which crop up time and again here, and they are RB for Reginald Brown and HA for Harry Allen. This practice seems to have stopped in the 1950’s however when the painter’s initials began to be omitted.

In recent times I have noticed a whole hoard of so-called colourways and prototypes coming on to the market – and all I can do is re-iterate my belief that it is always best to buy from a reputable dealer as we would all hate to loose out on a fake!

My thanks to Karyn and Gordon Harvey for their pictures.

Key Burslem dates – part 1

Some of the most frequent questions I am asked revolve around key dates for Doulton or Royal Doulton as they became.

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Over the next period I intend to set out what I consider to be the key dates for first of all the Burslem factory and thereafter the Lambeth factory. So here goes…

Part 1: 1780-1899

1780       A Nile St. Pottery was established

1878       Doulton and Pinder Bourne began a partnership. At this time Pinder Bourne had a workforce of ca. 160

1878       ‘Corolian’ introduced

1880       ‘Cobalt Blue’ introduced

1882       The pottery became Doulton & Co.

1882       John Slater was appointed Art Director for Burslem

‘Hispano Moresque’ introduced

John Bailey became the General Manager

1884       Fine china body introduced

1889       A workforce of 1200 is recorded

1889       ‘Photographic ware’ introduced

C. J. Noke joined Doulton & Co.

‘Seriesware’ introduced

1890       ‘Spanishware’, ‘Chiné’, ‘Lustre’, ‘Tapestry’ and ‘Blue Figures/Children’ all introduced

1893       Noke’s ‘Vellum figures’ introduced

1895       Royle’s Patent used

1895       Advertising wares introduced

‘Holbein’ introduced

1896       ‘Luscian’ introduced

1897       Princess Louise gave a Doulton dessert service to Queen Victoria

1898       ‘Kingsware’ introduced

‘Rembrandt’ introduced

1899       ‘Lactolian’ introduced

In the next part we will cover the next 20 years of the 20th Century, that proved so pivotal to the success of the Burslem venture and shape the products we associate with Doulton to this day.