We all know that Royal Doulton is famous for it’s bonneted ladies, but there is another theme that is popular amongst collectors, namely ladies with powdered white wigs.
English history is the source of many figures in the HN range and as with all figures so-called artistic license was used in abundance. Figure collectors the world over very often focus on one or two areas to focus their collecting and the Regency period offers collectors some of the best examples of Royal Doulton figures.
The Regency period in English history is a difficult period to date precisely and when one recalls the towering powdered wigs and cumbersome, elaborate dresses, we are actually thinking of the late Georgian and early Regency Periods. Royal Doulton has paid homage to this period on several occasions since A Lady of Georgian Period HN41 in 1914. Leslie Harradine was one of its greatest champions and his first figure from this period in English History is Tête à Tête HN799 which portrays a gentleman in typically long coat with wide cuffs, powdered wig and heeled shoes. The lady whose attention he is so assiduously seeking is sat wearing a powdered wig and low cut, elaborate dress. The obvious French name of the group, together with the costume, confirm that this and several later pieces were actually based on the French Regency Period.
Tête à Tête.
The Courtier HN1338 was the next figure in this style to be introduced and is seen here in his wig and elaborate costume including lace collars, heeled boots and lace tops on his boot hose.
Other figures soon followed including Eugene HN1521 and Lisette HN1524 both seen here in outfits again more reminiscent of the time of Louis XVI of France with their gowns looped up and both holding a fan. Two further French inspired figures followed swiftly as collectors clamoured for this style of figure. Camille HN1586 and Fleurette HN1587 are very much in this style, although Camille is actually based on a Stanislaus Longley picture from the 1930’s.
Harradine’s Regency HN1752 is very much true to its name and is a precise reflection of her time, with her stylish riding outfit, riding crop and tricorn hat. In the same year, 1936, The Court Shoemaker HN 1755 was introduced. Whilst the focus of the figure is undoubtedly the lady, we get an accurate glimpse of a servant’s attire in the shoemaker, with his simplified costume.
In the immediate post-war years after 1945 Peggy Davies again presented two figures in this style, namely Hermione HN2068 and Georgiana HN2093, both of whom are elaborate in style and expertly researched and executed as all of Peggy’s figures were. A final piece to mention here is Promenade HN2076. The sheer complexity of this figure must have made this piece particularly difficult to produce and this no doubt accounts for its scarcity today. Once more Peggy’s research is second to none and both figures are presented in costumes from ca. 1700 taken directly from fashion illustrations.
On first glance themes amongst the many figures introduced over the last century are not always apparent, but rest assured others do run through the HN collection and they provide an excellent basis on which to form a collection or even a display.
As always, thank you to Seaway China for the use of their pictures!