Tag Archives: Doulton Figures

Doulton’s Vellum Marguerite and Mephistopheles @Bonhams 11.08.20 lot116

This rare double sided Vellum figure by Doulton’s Charles Noke is part of a choice selection of Doulton wares ex being offered @Bonhams on 11 August 2020.

Lot 116 is believed to have been part of the Doulton exhibit at the Chicago Exhibition of 1893, at which much acclaim was heaped on the company.

This unusual variation sees Mephistopheles decorated in a cobalt costume with raised gold dragons, no doubt a design from the Robert Allen studio.

An Amazing Adventure – Part 2


Continuing my look back at last Saturday’s talk, here are a few more choice items from the selection that I took along. The premise of the talk was ‘My Collection’.
In this section the theme was the development of figures, so I took the art nouveau, square Harradine vase along so as to discuss Harradine’s roll but also the links with Doulton from his time as an apprentice modeller, to the period 1910-14 when he supplied models to Lambeth on a freelance basis and finally how the link with Burslem was established with the introduction of his first figure into the HN Collection in 1920.
The first figure we looked at was Harradine’s original model for Micawber and we discussed the process and arrangement he had with Charles Noke.
Next up were the M series and these original boxes for them. Most of these M figures were of course based on Harradine’s larger models.
A popular theme for all figure collectors has always – well since HN1 – been children so I shared a few favourites from the Nursery figures set including a prototype in my collection.
Honey and her inspiration followed, a typical painting by Stanislaus Longley, who Harradine used repeatedly for inspiration. Interestingly this work was also used by the famous London store Liberty for a Christmas catalogue cover in the 1930’s – and that is also pictured.
This section was completed with a discussion on colourways and I shared a version of Clothilde that I have from 1937.

Next time I’ll share some Burslem art wares that we discussed!

Royal Doulton’s dreamy yellow and orange figures.


We all normally associate bright reds, blues and greens with Doulton figures, however, there were a small group of early figures that fit into the peachy, yellow-orange bracket as you can see above.

The majority of these figures have HN numbers around 1500, indeed the colourway of Sweet Anne pictured actually carries the HN number 1529, an HN number we associate with the colourway of A Victorian Lady – also pictured above. This group of ladies are typically finished with green accessories; usually a gorgeous hue of green to compliment the yellowy orange colouring. The wonderful thing about these ladies is the depth of the colouring involved – a real forte of the Doulton painters of the time who would re-fire the colours multiple times to achieve the desired effect.

This demure band of ladies are all colour co-ordinated, yet, there are others we can add to this dreamy crowd. Here is a colourway of Pauline in orange.


Perhaps you too own figures that belong to this group. If so why not share them via our facebook page ‘Doulton Collectors Club’. We look forward to welcoming you!

Royal Doulton’s beautiful blues…

We looked at collecting and assembling a collection of red Royal Doulton figures a few weeks ago, and here is another theme to make a display – heavenly blues and the odd purple too!


In the period before WWII, Doulton experimented greatly with various colourways of their figures, the most popular colours being red, pink, green and of course blue.

Whilst red and pink were clearly the best sellers much like today, collectors nowadays seek out the most unusual colourways for their collections and many of these are these blue figures.
Popular figures such as Maureen, Marguerite, Day Dreams and a handful of others can be tracked down in beautiful bluey hues and a grouping of these unusual ladies makes an eye catching display. Ironically some figures that one would expect to see in blue have never been found, one such figure being Pyjamas HN1942, that I think would be perfect in blue!


Perhaps you have other figures to add to this ‘stream’ of blue ladies or other collecting themes that you follow? If so do share via our Facebook page ‘Doulton Collectors Club’.

‘New Lamps for Old’ – Royal Doulton’s figure lamps

‘New Lamps for Old’ so begins Doulton’s own advertising for these lamps. Particular to the 1920’s, 1930’s and possibly into the 1950’s these lamps often cause a little confusion amongst collectors who come across often long forgotten figures still attached to these charming lamp bases.



Sweet & Twenty mounted as a lamp and also as she featured in a catalogue from 1935.

As early as the 1920’s Doulton introduced their by then world famous figures mounted on lamp bases as yet another way to sell this most popular series. Diversity is perhaps the byword for these lamps…no two appear to be the same. The most popular I can find is a lamp with a square base mounted with the ever popular Victorian Lady. If you are lucky enough to find one that has never been removed from the base, you may find one of Doulton’s original paper labels underneath.


An advert for lamps from 1934.

The style of lamp base, just like the figure itself, is given a number preceded with an L for lamp. There were at least 10 different styles of base, some of which appear to have been used for particular figures. Lamp 6 seems to have been used exclusively for Clothilde, whilst number 8 was used for Cerise and number 10 for the Hinged Parasol. The bases were made of wood – with either a mohogany, oak or ebonised finish – or alabaster. I have one base in my collection that is made from wood used to create Westminster brigde.


A catalogue page from 1930 showing the Parson’s Daughter as a lamp with matching shade.

The shades too were a work of art in their own right. Tassles, cascading shades, hand finished detailing….all can be expected when you discover one of these lamps. Of course the shades are perhaps the most fragile part of these lamps and the majority have perished over the years. However, if someone has preserved the frame their are specialist lamp shade coverers out these who will re-vitalise these now sad skeleton shades.


An elaborately refurbished shade.

The prices of these complete lamps were often three times the price of the figure alone, yet they were obviously popular as they do turn up. When they do they often need refurbishing as the electric cables should be replaced. This is a relatively easy practice but you need to know what you are doing.

The enduring popularity of these lamps is perhaps best explained by Doulton themselves who advertised these lamps as “enhancing the beauty of colour and the refinement of the models” and that “nothing could be more suitable for a wedding present, for which they are now in great demand”.

All of the Doulton figure catalogues of this period state that any of the figures advertised could be mouted as lamps with “shades in suitable colours.”


To finish, a personal favourite of mine. Marietta fitted with a shade with tassles to match her costume. Although a little faded it evokes the 1930’s deco style perfectly. This lamp was exhibited at the V&A Doulton Story exhibition in 1978.

Royal Doulton’s wigged ladies (and gents too!)

We all know that Royal Doulton is famous for it’s bonneted ladies, but there is another theme that is popular amongst collectors, namely ladies with powdered white wigs.

English history is the source of many figures in the HN range and as with all figures so-called artistic license was used in abundance. Figure collectors the world over very often focus on one or two areas to focus their collecting and the Regency period offers collectors some of the best examples of Royal Doulton figures.

The Regency period in English history is a difficult period to date precisely and when one recalls the towering powdered wigs and cumbersome, elaborate dresses, we are actually thinking of the late Georgian and early Regency Periods. Royal Doulton has paid homage to this period on several occasions since A Lady of Georgian Period HN41 in 1914. Leslie Harradine was one of its greatest champions and his first figure from this period in English History is Tête à Tête HN799 which portrays a gentleman in typically long coat with wide cuffs, powdered wig and heeled shoes. The lady whose attention he is so assiduously seeking is sat wearing a powdered wig and low cut, elaborate dress. The obvious French name of the group, together with the costume, confirm that this and several later pieces were actually based on the French Regency Period.


Tête à Tête.

The Courtier HN1338 was the next figure in this style to be introduced and is seen here in his wig and elaborate costume including lace collars, heeled boots and lace tops on his boot hose.


The Courtier.

Other figures soon followed including Eugene HN1521 and Lisette HN1524 both seen here in outfits again more reminiscent of the time of Louis XVI of France with their gowns looped up and both holding a fan. Two further French inspired figures followed swiftly as collectors clamoured for this style of figure. Camille HN1586 and Fleurette HN1587 are very much in this style, although Camille is actually based on a Stanislaus Longley picture from the 1930’s.



Harradine’s Regency HN1752 is very much true to its name and is a precise reflection of her time, with her stylish riding outfit, riding crop and tricorn hat. In the same year, 1936, The Court Shoemaker HN 1755 was introduced. Whilst the focus of the figure is undoubtedly the lady, we get an accurate glimpse of a servant’s attire in the shoemaker, with his simplified costume.


In the immediate post-war years after 1945 Peggy Davies again presented two figures in this style, namely Hermione HN2068 and Georgiana HN2093, both of whom are elaborate in style and expertly researched and executed as all of Peggy’s figures were. A final piece to mention here is Promenade HN2076. The sheer complexity of this figure must have made this piece particularly difficult to produce and this no doubt accounts for its scarcity today. Once more Peggy’s research is second to none and both figures are presented in costumes from ca. 1700 taken directly from fashion illustrations.



On first glance themes amongst the many figures introduced over the last century are not always apparent, but rest assured others do run through the HN collection and they provide an excellent basis on which to form a collection or even a display.

As always, thank you to Seaway China for the use of their pictures!

Ideas for collecting and also displaying your Doulton figure collection

After a while we all realise that suddenly we have quite a sizeable collection (be it figures, character jugs, stoneware, Burselm art wares…the list could go on) and aside from the hole in our bank accounts we often wonder at that point – when did collecting become such an obsession…or at least that is what happened to me many years ago now.

The next time you think about your growing collection is when suddenly you have no more space for that particular piece you have been searching for for, so long…it was a bargain…how could I say no? They are but some of the excuses I have made to myself in the past.

So I thought it a good excuse to share a few collecting themes I have gone through over the years.

Collecting the same figure in all colourways – this remains something of an obsession for me and as anyone who knows me will say, my promise to only buy one, maximum two things at Doulton fairs rarely happens, as I spot that one figure I have ALWAYS wanted.


Day Dreams – one of my favourite figures in all 3 colourways.

Doulton Street vendors – this was an early phase, and whilst I still have a few prized pieces, many have been exchanged along the way for other pieces. Regrets? Well I wish I had space for more….


Some of the first Doulton figures I collected.

Doulton child studies – an easy theme to collect as due to their size you can assemble a collection large or small! I will leave it to you to guess which way my collecting went in this area!


Both colourways of Granny’s Shawl.

Collecting themes – one particular field I once found myself gathering were riding related figures such as the three below. Other themes are powdered wigged ladies, bonnets, figures with feet popping out….the list is endless.


A group of powdered wigged ladies.


A riding theme.


Let’s go Dutch!

Collecting by size – again once you assemble the group you want there is always the chance to find a miniature figure, or as in the picture here a medium sized figure.


Veronica in large and medium sizes.


Pierette in her usual and extra large sizes (earthenware)

Figures mounted on things – these can be lamps, ashtrays, bookends, pipe stands, calendars…the list is once again endless. I have shared lamps in the past, so here are a pair of my favourite bookends, unusually with full size figures rather than miniatures on them!


Rose and Marie mounted on bookends and in the reverse colourways to the ones usually found.

So there we are, a few of my favourite themes. How do you organise your figures or other Doulton? Time to share…how do you orgainse your collections?


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!


Reflections – London Cries

In our book Reflections – Doulton figures as a reflection of their times, Jocelyn and I cover many inspirations behind some of the most famous of Doulton’s figures in the HN collection. Unfortunately space wasn’t on our side, so I can reveal here some of the illustrations we couldn’t include back then!

Here is one of Wheatley’s London Cries pictures together with its Doulton counterpart!



Doulton artist profile – Arthur Perrins


Arthur at work in 1953

Arthur Perrins had a typically long association with Doulton & Co for his genreration; he began in the early 1940’s remaining with them until finally retiring in 1993. He was used to advertise Royal Doulton’s artistry over decades at some of the most prestigious stores in England including at the Doulton store at Harrods in London. Here are some pictures of Arthur at work, including a figure painting demonstration at Harrods in the early 1950’s. He is survived by his widow.


Arthur explaining the process involved in painting a Top o’ the hill ca. 1954


A Harrods display with Arthur demonstrating figure painting, again on a Top o’ the hill

Here is a link to some further pictures of Arthur at work on John Twigg’s excellent site about Doulton artists: