Category Archives: Seriesware

Royal Doulton goes Dutch Harlem!

An early catalogue page c.1910 featuring Dutch Harlem.

At a time when Holland and all thins Dutch were ‘de rigueur’ Royal Doulton produced various Dutch themed pieces including figures in their HN collection, examples of handpainted wares and also 8 different Dutch themed seriesware designs.

Four pin trays illustrating how scenes could be manipulated and also the variation in colours that can be found.

The focus here is Dutch Harlem, one of Royal Doulton’s most enduringly popular designs of all seriesware patterns. Designed by the great Charles Noke and introduced in 1904, this series alone contained 35 scenes and remained in production until c.1943.

A selection of unusual shapes featuring Dutch Harlem.

As was typical scenes were gradually introduced and even adapted. Such adaptations included enhancing the colours used and introducing new shapes to be used.

Unusual match box cover and stand.

A particularly unusual version of Dutch Harlem was produced exclusively for the great London store Liberty’s, and further exclusive productions of biscuit barrels were produced for the biscuit manufacturers McVitie and Price.

A variety of Dutch themed seriesware items produced by Royal Doulton, including Dutch Harlem.

Royal Doulton’s Willow Story Pattern.

This familiar design is and was produced by many China manufacturers since the late 18th Century, although Royal Doulton created their own colour scheme aside from the traditional blue and white.

In all there are 6 scenes to collect detailing the lives of Chang and Koongshee, all with appropriate titles to their reverse. Each scene although vaguely Chinese in style, is in fact a European interpretation of oriental life and the characters portrayed were conceived sometime in the early 1800s.

Produced from 1920 and withdrawn sometime around the time of WWII, Willow Pattern Story has been found on plates, a cup and saucer and most recently the meat platter illustrated.

Collecting Royal Doulton’s Poppies ‘B’ seriesware.

Few designs have the followers of this particular Royal Doulton art nouveau design. Well over a century after its introduction in 1909, today collectors still compete for unusual items featuring this iconic design. 

Although it had a relatively long production period until sometime after the outbreak of WWII, examples of it, other than rack plates are very hard to find. 

Over the years I have seen tennis sets, toilet sets, dinner plates and various jugs in collections around the world, yet, each collection has a specific focus of either decoration for the bathroom, the use of rack plates in a sitting or dining room or else simply part of a wider collection of Royal Doulton’s famous serieswares.

There are three colour variations to be found, namely pink, blue and a yellow version. Interestingly there is also a special backstamp to be found which reads ‘sleep gentle sleep’, no doubt a reference to the symbolic use of poppies for those fallen in war and also recalling that famous line from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part II. 

Royal Doulton’s rare seriesware design ‘Cock-a-doodle-do’.

Royal Doulton certainly knew how to capture the market and this seriesware design is another illustration of their timely delivery to a clamouring public.

Today we associate this series with nurseryware but of course it does carry Royal Doulton’s famous D numbers from their ‘gift’ ware range (either D4686 or D4830).

In total there are seven scenes which revolve around the farmyard life of hens, ducks and of course roosters; all of whom can be found brought to comic life in this series and many are illustrated here. 

This design was introduced in 1928 and withdrawn by 1939, making it a hard series to find today. 
Interestingly, it also carries an individual backstamp so popular with Royal Doulton on their many seriesware designs.

My thanks to John Hatfield for use of the images here. CE

Royal Doulton’s festive seriesware miniatures.

Nothing says Christmas quite like Father Christmas and Royal Doulton were astute enough to introduce a range of miniatures featuring Santa into their Seriesware range as early as 1904.


You can see from this 1905 advert that Doulton’s then advertising team were suggesting these miniatures could replace the sending of Christmas cards for the diminutive sum of one shilling in old money. 

In total there were six Father Christmas scenes and a further two festive scenes of a turkey and geese that Louise Irvine in her Seriesware books has called Festive Fare. You can see an unusual turkey coal skuttle in the main picture and another angle of it below, yet the even more unusual geese I have only seen in blue and white rather than in what we might call festive colourings.

 In terms of borders the Santa pieces have either bells or holly, whereas the turkey and geese images typically have a mixture of mistletoe and holly.

These two series had short production runs; the outbreak of WWI ceased their productions.

Merry Christmas to all! 🎄

Collecting Doulton’s nursery rhyme series ware pattern ‘G’!

Nurseryware was and remains something of a speciality for Doulton with the enduring popularity of their Bunnykins range, which babies around the world receive in early childhood in the form of bowls and cups, together with a host of other items and of course the famous Bunnykins figures.

Back in the early 20th century many different nursery ware scenes were produced including this charming silhouette design. Introduced in 1907 and withdrawn by the mid-1930’s examples of this series are hard to find today, no doubt due to the fact that they were used for raising baby back in the day. Two D numbers can be found relating to this pattern D2833 & D4016.

This pattern features a central scene relating to a saying on the piece ; taken from famous rhymes such as Three Blind Mice and Rock-a-bye baby that are still taught to young children. In all there are only four designs which include the two titles above and Little Miss Muffet and There was a Little Man… 

Items typically found with this pattern include baby bowls, cereal bowls, mugs, jugs and small plates.

Collecting Royal Doulton’s Hiawatha seriesware design.

It is not surprising to find this series at the start of the 20th Century as at this time there were tours by Native Americans to Europe and there was much interest in them and their way of life. Doulton’s series was introduced in 1908 and withdrawn in 1949, and whilst it is a long production period examples of this pattern are hard to find today, with rack plates the most easily found. In 1938 the border designs were given additional colouring, thus revamping the series. 

The fictional character Hiawatha from Longfellow’s poem The Song of Hiawatha is the tale of a Native American hero, although originally he was to be called Manabozho. Longfellow’s character was a medicine man, defender of and beacon for his people.

The name is taken from Hiawatha (Born: 1525 – Died: 1595) who was an early pre-colonial Native American leader and depending on differing sources, was a leader of the Onondaga, or the Mohawk or perhaps even both. 

As well as rack plates, chargers, tankards, tobacco jars and dressing table sets have been found featuring the five recorded designs that make up the range, all with appropriate Longfellow quotations often referring to Haiwatha’s wisdom or else his famous belt. The borders are typically elaborate for early designs and feature wigwams. 

Collecting Doulton’s Bluebell Gatherers.

This delightful series was introduced in 1914 at the start of the First World War however, early examples can still be found despite wartime restrictions.

  In total there are some 12 scenes to collect which can bear one of three reference numbers: D3567, D3812 and E8503.  

  The series was withdrawn by 1928 and whilst rack plates are the most easily found items from this romantic series other items such as the sugar shaker and even a tea set have been found. 

  Typical of the early patterns they feature much hand painting too that give them an extra special appeal to collectors! 

Royal Doulton’s ‘Arabian Nights’ seriesware design.

  We have looked at several patterns of late, but this is one of a large group inspired by literature.

Introduced in 1909 there are some 13 designs to collect with a trio of borders to them; the most usual being the ivy border and the rarest the ‘Japanese’ border that I have only had once on a rack plate.

The designs featured are of course based on the many stories contained in The Thousand and One Nights or as we know it the Arabian Nights. 

Ali Baba is a particularly common theme among the designs produced, as well as several more general titles including ‘Preparing for the Feast’.

This colourful series makes an impressive display and also a successful backdrop for many of Doulton’s Arabian figures such as The Cobbler or Abdullah.


Collecting H. M. Bateman’s illustrations on Doulton seriesware! 

Henry Mayo Bateman was an Australian illustrator, most famous for his cartoons captioned ‘the man who….’. 

 These illustrations featured a haphazard man who continually ‘puts his foot in it’ as we say here in the UK, meaning that he commits the most awkward gaffes! 

  His cartoons were featured in leading magazines of the period including The Tatler and Sketch. 

  Returning to his seriesware illustrations they are termed as rare among collectors who appreciate the humour of his scenes and when they do turn up even on small items they regularly reach three figure sums! His designs on Doultonware feature a facsimile signature and from experience date to 1937-8.