Few artists carry the gravitas of George Tinworth, but as Doulton’s first artist that mantle certainly is deserving.
On our Facebook page we’ve seen three examples of his work today and to complete a trio I thought I’d share this charming and possibly unique and complete chess set. Naturally individual pieces occasionally crop up, however, a complete set is something of a true marvel. We were fortunate to see this set in person at Whitley’s Auctioneers’ sale in California in June.
The unique set at Whitley Auctioneers’ June Sale
Tinworth is famous for his mouse studies and groups, apparently encouraged by no other than Sir Henry himself in their creation. This particular set dates to the last decade of the 20C.
An early photograph of a complete set c.1890.
The liberating period of the 1920’s to 1930’s often seems incongruous to non-Doulton figure collectors who associate ladies in ballgowns with Doulton figures, but those in the know, recall that there are a small group of nude figures produced in the art deco period that encapsulate that movement perfectly. All the figures contained in this small band of lady figures were the brain child of Leslie Harradine, Doulton’s then principal figure modeler.
As if to prove their own artistic credentials, Doulton introduced over a 10 year period several nude studies that confirmed their artistic prowess.
The first we must all know was Harradine’s The Bather, modeled on this contemporary advert for Cyclax bath salts.
There were six different versions of this popular model, with this colourway proving to be the most popular.
The Bather HN687.
In the succeeding years there was a second version of The Bather introduced, shown here. Although a different model, she was obviously intended to be a partner to the original.
The Bather HN773 (second version).
By the mid to late 1930’s tastes had changed and prudery was once more on the rise, and so a last version of this figure was introduced wearing a bathing suit, so reflecting the continued interest in lidos.
The Bather HN1708.
This rather quaint figure produced in the early 1920’s is another advertising figure, but this time it’s purpose is to advertise the once popular Illustrated London News magazine. It covered all topical issues and as well as political comment, satire and stories, it also included full page prints for its readers of modern pictures. It was originally a weekly broadsheet but it move to bi-annual until it ceased production after the millennium.
The Beefeeter is a warder of the Tower of London and not a Yeoman of the Guard as is often stated. The Warder Beefeeter served the Towers prisioners and to protect the Crown Jewels but today they act more as tourist guides.
This Doulton personification of this famous London character holds an actual copy of the Illustrated London News from May 14 1842 , whose print is actually readable. Examples without any text do exist but it is the original that is most sought after.
Produced in three colourways as HN 1909 and HN 1910 from 1939, and HN 1963 from 1941, Leslie Harradine’s Honey is one of a small number of figures introduced during WWII and which subsequently had a short production run.
Interestingly the pink version, HN 1909, is the most frequently found and the only one I have seen produced post war too, with a remodelled angle to her neck and different flowers too.
She is based upon this illustration by Stanislaus Longley, which incidentally was also used as a cover girl by high end retailer Liberty of London for this 1930s Christmas catalogue.
Honey HN 1910 and the Liberty Christmas catalogue mentioned.
As you can see Harradine altered the actual model from the illustration, as he frequently did, but it is one of a number of Longley designs which he derived inspiration for figures from.
Note the ‘HA 3’ on the base signifying that this is the third trial proposed and painted by Harry Allen.
If you would like to read more about the inspiration behind some of Royal Doulton’s most iconic figures, check out my book ‘Reflections’ online.
A sneak peek inside the latest issue of the DCC magazine! With regular contributions from worldwide authority Louise Irvine among others, you’re sure to enjoy each and every issue.
Here are a few more images from Issue 12 out now!
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See you soon!
Carrara ware carries a special backstamp and is a stonewarewith a white matt glaze that imitates a dull marble effect. Early examples can be found featuring fine painting and gilding (ca. 1890’s).
An unusual lidded vase in Carrara.
Carrara ware is rare to find today but there are some impressive advertising pieces including the famous Mark Marshall seahorse or the Leslie Harradine bear that were produced to advertise this ware.
A group of Doulton advertising pieces including the polar bear mentioned and also an unusual scarab.
It was particularly popular in the architectural world in the early 20th Century and several buildings around the world have a Carrara ware façade, including the world famous Savoy Hotel in London.
A salvaged Doulton name plaque from an unknown building.
Of the early sets of Doulton animals the Bonzo character dogs from the 1920’s are some of the hardest to track down. In total there were six early dogs HN808-813 and seemingly very few were made. Created by George Studdy, his mischeaveous dog Bonzo became the star of comic strip, magazines and postcard! Extremely rare examples of Bonzo have been found mounted as finials or on alabaster desk accessories.
Bonzo appears in several colourways including a deep purple glaze, ivory with red or black buttons and a deep blue glaze among others. Due to the miniature size of the piece, he is typically just marked ‘DOULTON’ and occasionally the model number 868 to its base.