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).
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…..
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.
Leslie Harradine’s Once upon a time HN 2047 (above and below)
Peggy Davies’ Curly Locks HN2049 (above and below)
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.
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.