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Produced from 1920 and withdrawn sometime around the time of WWII, Willow Pattern Story has been found on plates, a cup and saucer and most recently the meat platter illustrated.

Royal Doulton’s ever popular miniature Polly Peachum figures.

Polly Peachum and her counterparts hold a special place in the hearts of many figure collectors due to her prominent appearance in the HN Collection from 1921 until WWII. Polly is central to Royal Doulton’s first series of figures, designed by Leslie Harradine, and each is based on the Lovett Fraser costumes for the 1920 revival of the opera at the Lyric in Hammersmith, London.

A display of miniature Polly Peachums in an appropriately sized display!

Originally produced in a typical larger size as two models – one standing HN463 (with 6 other colourways) and one curtsying (again with 4 more colourways), the latter is often referred to as Polly Curtsey in early publicity for the Beggars Opera series.

A 1925 calendar with Polly dated 1925.

It is the latter model (316) or second version of Polly that has inspired this post, for as a miniature figure she can be found in more recorded and unrecorded colourways than any other Royal Doulton figure.

Polly mounted on a bell push.

Today she can still be found mounted in all manner of useful objects from calendars to bell pushes, and a host of other objects in between! Whilst more easily found versions of her such as M21 in pink are relatively inexpensive, other more unusual versions can easily reach four figure sums, which considering her diminutive size (6cm) is quite astonishing!

One of a number of colourways that Polly can be found in!

Interestingly the first versions of this miniature Polly appeared in 1925 as part of the HN, thus pre-dating the M series and it is from this period that most unrecorded variations appear. There were 8 original HN colourways of her and the most popular were incorporated into the M series upon its launch in 1932.

Another variation of our heroine!

Questions around the markings on the bases of some of these early versions remain unanswered including why some carry early HN numbers such as HN8. My explanation is that these seemingly erroneous references actually refer to the colour of early full size HN figures such as the Crinoline and Picardy Peasant which have been given to Polly as well.

Polly labelled HN1265 to her base, referencing her colourway based on Lady Fayre HN1265.

Royal Doulton’s Carrara ware

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.

Royal Doulton’s rare Bonzo dog models

Bonzo

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.

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

Our very special guest this weekend (3rd June 2018) will be Michael Doulton…

Our very special guest and host for our summer Royal Doulton collectors’ event over the weekend of 2-3 June will be Michael Doulton.

Michael will be available on Sunday 3rd to chat to collectors and also sign any purchases. On Saturday 2nd he will host a special preview of the fair for members of the Doulton Collectors Club before we go to a special collectors’ dinner, followed by shopping of course!


Michael Douton is the 6th generation descendant of John Doulton who was the founder of Royal Doulton.

Michael has worked for Royal Doulton for over 40 years traveling around the world as brand Ambassador.


Michael hosts many Figurine and Royal Albert signing events in USA, Canada, Australia and China each year.

Don’t forget to visit us Sunday 3rd June at the World of Wedgwood!

A place to share enthusiasm for all things Royal Doulton! All original content ©Christopher Evans 2014 unless otherwise credited. No unauthorised reproduction permitted.