Category Archives: Prototype

An early prototype by Peggy Davies!


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.

An interesting Doulton prototype and the story behind it.

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.

A look at a Doulton prototype – two’s company…

….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!

The evolution of Harradine’s Market Day figure.

We all know that figures change subtly during the pre-production phase but a sighting this last summer really shows us how drastic some transformations could be!

Here is a prototype version of Market Day complete with a piglet at the girl’s feet! I can’t help thinking that this is one of the piglets often attributed to Peggy Davies! If not identical it probably provided inspiration for her.

Prototype sold at Louis Taylor.

Here is the production model to compare her with.


She was of course re-introduced decades later as Country Lass with the same HN number and with a matte glaze for a short period, along with another contemporary figure the Jersey Milkmaid who became the Milkmaid, also in matte, with the same HN and re-named simply The Milkmaid.

Royal Doulton’s figure surveys.

A table of figures of which only a fraction were eventually produced.

Prototypes and colourways have been the subject of previous articles, but I thought you all might like to see these few pictures I have come across of figure evaluation events. Typically these occurred in the US and Canada during the 1960’s-80’s.

Another display featuring a wonderful red colourway of Sweet Seventeen that turned up at the Doulton museum sale in London.

At first security at such events appears to have been lax with figures ‘escaping’ during their travels, but as time went on Doulton began to appreciate what value these survey pieces had and storage even at the factory improved greatly. Indeed, Doulton ‘sat’ on prototypes for many years, sometimes decades as with the figure Elizabeth HN2465 from 1970 that was only out into production in 1990 or the handful of Mary Nicoll ladies such as Lesley that appeared many years after their original production. You can see some of these figures in the pictures shown here on this page.

A young collector casts their vote for their favourites.

The majority of prototypes that turn up appear to be from the 1940’s onwards, indicating that the majority of models produced before this time were put into production – the length of production indicating popularity. Yet, earlier prototypes do turn up and whilst I have heard people say that all Harradine’s models went into production, this is not the case as even his models faced heavy scrutiny after 1940 and began not to go into production but would face market surveys.

Not the best illustration but a lovely colourway of a favourite prototype by Mary Nicoll from 1971, titled ‘Smith minor’ right at the front of the picture. A figure of a young boy off to school sat on his trunk and holding his cricket bat.

Perhaps you have a survey figure in your collection? If so we would love to hear from you and why not post a picture to our Facebook page ‘Doulton Collectors Club’!

The former Doulton Museum at Nile Street

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…..


















Speaking of colourways of Doulton figures….here are a few more examples to enjoy!

Just a few more colourways, prototypes and rare figures to share with you all! Thanks once again to Seaway China for the use of their pictures too!


An unusual Guy Fawkes



A very different Orange Vendor


The rare HN1563 version of Sweet and Twenty


Abdullah in red


A nice version of Repose in yellow


Mam’selle in a typical 1920’s colouring


A nice Deirdre dated 1947 that I once had


Polly Peachum in grey


A charming Ballerina prototype from the 1960’s


An elaborately painted Young Love


And that’s all for colourways and prototypes for today!! Enjoy and keep hunting!


A short video to advertise my book Reflection – Royal Doulton figures as a reflection of their times

Follow this link for a sample of pages and a brief explanation of the book!


An unusual colourway of Puff and Powder

Here are some pictures of an unusual Puff and Powder I once came across from Seaway China. She is decorated in the Bakst style like several of Harradine’s early figures of the 1920’s. Leon Bakst’s designs for the Ballet Russe were distinctive because of the use of contrasting fabrics placed together; something you can clearly see from this figure. Interestingly the piece is taken from a Raphael Tuck picture by Stanislaus Longley, an artist whose work Harradine regularly used as inspiration for figures but who is only credited with inspiring a handful of figures from the mid to late 1930’s rather than the 1920’s.
Here are the pictures to enjoy!






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.




Click to access 2013-Summer-Catalog-cover-and-features.pdf