I am always amazed at how these prototypes turn up…you don’t see any for an eternity and then two or three turn up!
This charming young girl is ‘hoop rolling’ and is decorated much in the same palette as Noelle HN2179 also by Peggy. She has an HN number already written on her base suggesting that her introduction was imminent but obviously Doulton decided against her introduction at the last minute. She dates to ca.1958 and this HN number was not used until 1979 for Sunday Best. This young girl will be coming up at the Potteries Antique Auctions.
Whilst pictures and adverts provided much inspiration for Doulton’s modellers, real life and sometimes family life also played a role in inspiring them.
This delightful prototype of a girl by Peggy Davies has cropped up a handful of times and I understand that she is a childhood representation of an aunt who as a child was sent to Canada for adoption, but who was ultimately and happily returned to the family to care for. This is how Peggy saw her waiting to board the boat to Canada, dressed in her best and with her trunk.
….and three would be a crowd.
This charming prototype dating to around 1950, I first spotted just a couple of months ago having never seen the model before. At the time I took a picture to add to records, not expecting another version of her to crop up just a week ago!
Although in different colourways, both seem utterly charming and we can only guess as to why the model wasn’t put into production.
The model number dates her quite closely, only the modeller remains unknown. I feel personally that it is a Harradine piece due to the subject and looking at other figures around the same model number they are Harradine’s work. My only doubt is her small waist – a trait of Peggy Davies’.
One day hopefully we will once again be able to access the Doulton records to see if they shed any further light on this interesting figure!
I thought I’d share this little study of a boy by Peggy Davies. It is marked simply ‘Clay Craft’ to the base, a company she ran in the 1940’s-50’s I believe. Interestingly there was a Doulton version of the same figure so I imagine either he was presented to Doulton in the red colourway and prototypes were made or else rejected by Doulton and Peggy used the design herself.
The Doulton version and a young girl too, both sold at Louis Taylor in 2005.
An interesting piece anyway and it goes to show you never know what is waiting around the corner!
During Peggy’s earliest years with Doulton she produced a handful of hand modelled figures, in 18th Century dress.
The group above, I have seen three other times with subtle variations such as the items on the ground including a monkey or a bird cage. The figures too can have slight variations to their dress including longer sleeves on the gent or differences to his collar.
In the WMODA in Miami you can see two other figures hand modelled by Peggy, again girls in 18th Century dress.
All in all these pieces are of huge importance in the history of Doulton figures and also the story of Peggy Davies.
The three other versions were all sold through Phillips/Bonhams as part of the Doulton Reserve sales.
Here is one such example, with uniquely, elaborate decoration!
(Courtesy of Bonhams)
We all know that an artist’s original model can change dramatically during the pre-production and even sometimes post production phase.
A chance sighting of this early version of Peggy Davies’ lady Denise reminded me of this! Here you can see an early prototype where there has been an attempt to create a lace effect over the skirt and also around the top of the dress. It makes quite a startling change to the figure and you can see why cost would have prohibited production of this elaborate model.
A typical version of Denise HN2477 from the Vanity Fair series introduced in the 1980’s.
Many thanks to Jonathan at the Potteries Specialist Auctions for use of the photograph from their upcoming sale on 15th November.
Continuing our look at ideas for arranging or grouping figures, here is a further colour theme – picture perfect pinks!
A group of Harradine’s pink ladies.
The popularity of pink figures like many of the other colour themes we have looked at seems to have fluctuated over the years. Even today there are groups of pink figures that are introduced only for there to be a real gap in the issuing of further examples.
Three early pink ladies.
However, some pink ladies remained popular for decades including Harradine’s pink Top o’ the hill HN1849 and many of his child studies including Cissie HN1809 and her partner Bo-Peep HN1811.
A selection of Peggy’s pink ladies.
Many of Harradine’s figures from the mid to late 1930’s were issued in either a pink or a blue colourway and the pink appears to have generally been preferred, meaning that today collectors really have to search assiduously for the blue versions of figures such as Miss Fortune, The Lambeth Walk, Windflower and Maureen to name but a few.
Valerie Annand’s elaborate L’Ambitieuse from more recent times.
As always whatever your tastes a grouping of one colour or many colours makes an eye-catching display.
Peggy’s beautiful figurine ‘Polka’.
The original Williamsburg figures were introduced in 1960 and of course for this time were the models of the great Peggy Davies. Subsequently other figures were added to the series and also a set of Character Jugs.
These figures represented what would have been the major personalities of 18th Century Williamsburg, once the seat of government. Wherafter Williamsburg fell into decay and it wasn’t until the early 20th Century that the decision was made to restore this shrine of American Character and tradition. Each of the town’s buildings would be reconstructed and refurnished exactly to suit the dignity of its 18th Century heyday.
Today, side by side with the restored town, costumed tradesmen ply the trades of over 2 centuries ago – and this is where the inspiration for the range comes from. So we have a Silversmith, a Wigmaker, the famous Hostess and a lady and gentleman of the town among other characters.
The eight figures in the series.
These figures had a special backstamp as shown below.
The bases of the figures showing the special backstamp.
For me the great thing about this series is the opportunity to add other figures to it, for many of Peggy’s ‘Pretty Ladies’ fit ideally into this group of figures, as do Mary Nicoll’s character figures such as The Coachman HN2283, The Clockmaker HN2279 and of course her study of The Craftsman HN2284 (below).
There are a number of animal groups popular with collectors and which are fun to track down to complete the set.
Just like the piglets we looked at recently, there are six kittens in this set too, and conveniently three are ginger and three are brown, again allowing us to create a pleasant grouping.
These kittens, just like the piglets were the work of the great Peggy Davies when first apprenticed to Doulton. They were introduced in 1941 and withdrawn in the mid 1980’s.
As with all things a Doulton the longer an item is out of production, the more it is sought after and these kittens are no exception. Happy collecting!
Just a few pictures from the old figure museum on one of the last times I visited ca.2002.
Thank goodness I had the chance to visit many times as sadly it was sold off many years ago now.
Whilst the museum was built up in relatively recent times, the figures in it formed the basis of the original Doulton Figures Book in 1978. They were sought from all corners of the globe by Richard Dennis and his then assistant Jocelyn Lukins before she left to set up on her own.
Anyway, enough chat…here are a handful of pictures! Enjoy…..