Tag Archives: Doulton

Royal Doulton Kingsware Clocks

It is unusual to think of Collecting just clocks but of course there are dedicated clock collectors out there. When it comes to Royal Doulton, collectors are usually happy with one or two examples, unless we’re talking about Kingsware collectors!

Clocks have been produced at both Lambeth and Burslem over the years and even in relatively modern times. Stoneware examples are naturally magnificent and by greats such as Tinworth, although more modest Silicon examples were also produced at Lambeth which can be bought relatively modestly today.

Two “Monk” scene clocks; the right hand one signed by Noke and C. Vyse (not to be confused with the sculptor of Darling HN1)

The topic here is Kingsware and there are a handful of wonderful art nouveau designs that can be found as part of this range. So far (that’s always the way to think) there have been five subjects found on Kingsware clocks, which themselves have been recorded on three shapes.

The five characters are:

A. Night Watchman

B. Alchemist

C. Pied Piper

D. Monk

E. Jester

Whilst many remain undated, I did once see an Alchemist one dated 1904 and imaging the others to date from this period given their art nouveau decoration.

Rare Jester clock with verse (not shown)

Patience is the watchword when embarking on collecting this series of clocks, not to mention deep pockets! Yet, that is what makes collecting rewarding, isn’t it?

Peggy’s ‘Prima’ Ballerinas!

When Peggy Davies began to supply regular models to Doulton for reproduction she was determined to set her style apart from anything else hitherto produced. Whilst Doulton wanted to continue their house style after Harradine, Peggy had other ideas.

Among her first productions were a handful of ballerina figures, something that had not been created since the early and rare Pavlova HN487.

The delicacy and detail of these ballerinas are synonymous with Peggy’s style and so very distinguishable from other figure modellers.

The first in the series are Coppelia HN2115 and Ballerina HN2116, the origins of the latter are discussed in my book Reflections but Coppelia is based on the mechanical doll in Delibes’ comic ballet from which the figure takes her name.

However, the most accurate ballet figures are the trio that followed these two models. The first, la Sylphide, is based on the ballet of the same name. La Sylphide should not be confused by the later ballet Les Sylphides which took inspiration from the original and also features a sylph – a mythological spirit if the air. I have recently discovered the prototype version of this figure with a crown of flowers sitting proudly above her head rather than the band of flowers on the model that went into production.

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L-R the production version of la Sylphide and the prototype..

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Full views of the two figures that illustrate their common features. Yet, the detail is of course much more defined on the prototype. The prototype version simply carries the Doulton marks as one would expect.

The second two are based on the ballet Giselle by Gautier first performed in 1841. Here are all three studies!

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L-R Giselle HN2139, La Sylphide HN2138 and Giselle, the Forest Glade HN2140.

This group of figures make an excellent display and loan themselves to any room in the house!

Another interesting find from Karyn and Gordon

Here we have a colourway of Katharine, one not illustrated in the 1994 figures book and hitherto not recorded.

I believe this to be HN793 given the description in the aforementioned book. The piece has an impressed model number date of ‘9.23’ for September 1923.

The piece was originally introduced in 1916 but any examples of her are hard to find. She was of course modelled by the great C. J. Noke, Art director at Doulton’s Burslem factory.

A great find and thank you for sharing. Another undiscovered colourway can be ticked off the list! Here are some pictures of Katharine for you to see her in all her glory.

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Key Burslem dates – part 1

Some of the most frequent questions I am asked revolve around key dates for Doulton or Royal Doulton as they became.

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Over the next period I intend to set out what I consider to be the key dates for first of all the Burslem factory and thereafter the Lambeth factory. So here goes…

Part 1: 1780-1899

1780       A Nile St. Pottery was established

1878       Doulton and Pinder Bourne began a partnership. At this time Pinder Bourne had a workforce of ca. 160

1878       ‘Corolian’ introduced

1880       ‘Cobalt Blue’ introduced

1882       The pottery became Doulton & Co.

1882       John Slater was appointed Art Director for Burslem

‘Hispano Moresque’ introduced

John Bailey became the General Manager

1884       Fine china body introduced

1889       A workforce of 1200 is recorded

1889       ‘Photographic ware’ introduced

C. J. Noke joined Doulton & Co.

‘Seriesware’ introduced

1890       ‘Spanishware’, ‘Chiné’, ‘Lustre’, ‘Tapestry’ and ‘Blue Figures/Children’ all introduced

1893       Noke’s ‘Vellum figures’ introduced

1895       Royle’s Patent used

1895       Advertising wares introduced

‘Holbein’ introduced

1896       ‘Luscian’ introduced

1897       Princess Louise gave a Doulton dessert service to Queen Victoria

1898       ‘Kingsware’ introduced

‘Rembrandt’ introduced

1899       ‘Lactolian’ introduced

In the next part we will cover the next 20 years of the 20th Century, that proved so pivotal to the success of the Burslem venture and shape the products we associate with Doulton to this day.

 

Still on the topic of ‘Reflections’…here is Lady and Blackamoor HN375 and her inspiration!

This original illustration is by the popular illustrator Jennie Harbour and clearly is the source for Tittensor’s Lady and Blackamoor. Interestingly this example spotted at the Seaway China/Whitley event in Detroit 2009, is modelled as a powder bowl and the base separates from the rest to provide a place for the powder and puff! The colouring of HN375 is identical to that of HN374, but the former indicates that it is modelled as a powder bowl.

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Illustration by Jennie Harbour ‘Powder and Patches’.

 

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And here is the rare Lady and Blackamoor HN375 to compare to the original.

An Easter Day surprise!

A treat for fellow figure collectors is this early version of Easter Day by Leslie Harradine, modelled after a still of Vivienne Leigh in ‘Gone with the Wind’ from 1938 when the actress played Scarlet O’Hara. The actual version of this figure that went into production in 1945 was accurate in almost every detail to the photograph that has previously been listed here!

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Bunnykins – an Easter treat!

With so many collectors of Doulton’s famous Bunnykins nursery ware out there, it is hardly a surprise that it reamins a popular line to this day. Originally created by Barbara Vernon (she took her mother’s surname when she became a nun) in 1934 and famous patrons of this ware have helped perpetuate its success.

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An example of an early pen-and-watercolour illustration by Barbara Vernon (1930)

In 1937, the late Queen Mother first saw examples of Bunnykins and since then it has been a regular in Royal nurseries around the world. Interestingly, Barbara was actually the daughter of Cuthbert Bailey, the manager of Doulton’s Burslem factory and hence the Doulton connection.

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Examples of nurseryware and the rare Billy Bunnyking

Due to failing eyesight Barbara’s creations for Doulton curtailed in the late 1940’s and Walter Hayward took up the reigns and designs of this most famous nuersery ware continue even to this day. At the most recent Doulton fair here in the UK, once again there was a special limited edition piece, a Bunnykins figure commissioned by Ceramics International for the event and of course it was another sell out!

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Bunnykins figures being decorated

Here you can see a picture of the various backstamps used on Bunnykins over the years. Of interest to collectors of nurseryware itself are the signed pieces by Barbara Vernon. Walter Hayward, rather than use a facsimilie signature used a mouse to indicate his designs.

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Examples of Bunnykins nurseryware backstamps

The range of early Bunnykins figures are charming with their doleful eyes and there is an early range of tableware with modelled heads to compliment these figures. These modelled pieces of tableware are extremely rare and very popular with collectors today.

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The rare and ever popular Mother Bunnykins

As with all things Doulton colourways and prototypes dominate this field of collecting. Yet, there are many variations to be found more modestly, especially when special limited editions have been and are made as commemoratives and also for fairs around the world. So happy hunting and happy Easter!!

 

Doulton at War (1939-45) – A brief account of the damage at both the Burslem and Lambeth factories

Much is documented about the wares produced by Doulton during this period as much of what was produced is so very rare that only one or two examples of items exist to this day.

However, very little has been documented about what actually happened at the Burslem and Lambeth factories at this time. Naturally there was a shortage of raw materials that had a major impact on production, but also the calling up of employees from both factories must have almost halted production of most wares, save utilitarian items needed for the war effort.

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Damage to the Burslem warehouse October 1940

The war came early to the Burslem factory, when in October 1940 a three-storey warehouse housing finished goods and also the Art Director’s studios were bombed. Here you can see a couple of pictures of the debris it left behind. Try as I might the only things I can pin point are a Limited Edition Jug and what is probably some Flambé ware.

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A further view of the damage cause to the warehouse at Burslem in 1940

At Lambeth too, the factory sustained damage as did many of their employees’ homes. In May 1941 the Lambeth showrooms took a direct hit and were destroyed but fortunately there was no loss of life at that point. In typical Doulton form for the company at this time, financial assistance was provided to employees suffering from war damage to their homes.

Whilst the above is merely a snap-shot of events during the war-years, it allows us to share these unique pictures from the time.

Doulton artist profile – Reginald (Reg) Brown

Reg Brown was destined to play a pivotal role in the field of Doulton’s figure production. Born in 1909, he died at the early age of 53. He spent most of his life living locally to the Burslem factory in Wolstanton. Doulton typically became something of a family affair for the Browns, with his daughter-in-law working in the Character Jug department and his youngest son in the Doulton laboratory.

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Reg Brown ca. 1950’s Head of Doulton’s on-glaze Figure Painting Department

Reg was originally a pupil of Herbert Betteley at Doultons and of the same school as Tom Parton, Charles Hart , Bernard Green, Harry Stevenson, Roland Holdcroft, Jack Pierpoint and others. He studied at the Burslem College of Art and from an early stage showed versatitily in painting landscapes and castles amongst many other subjects with prowess. However, he was destined to join Harry Allen, Norman Woodings, Charles Nixon and a handful of other men who formed the nucleus of the original figure painting department.

A founder of the Doulton Art Society, a member of the Doulton Sports Club and the Doulton choir, Reg would eventually become head of the On-glaze figure painting department, a position he would hold until his untimely death.

Collectors I know specifically look for Reg’s figures as they have exquisite faces and are superbly painted. I am fortunate to posess a few colourways also painted by Reg from the 1940’s, no doubt from his time as the head of department and the colourings are just wonderful in real life. One of my favourite figures painted by him is this colourway of Christmas Morn from 1942.

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Once again, why not see how many of your pieces are painted by Reg – and what a great theme for collecting figures!