Tag Archives: Figures

Leslie Harradine Part 2 – A change of allegiance

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A rare photograph of Leslie Harradine

The next chapter of Harradine’s association with Doulton begins in 1919. Noke, Art Director at Doulton’s Burslem factory recognised Harradine’s talent for figure making and attempted to recruit him. Noke had been particularly impressed by the set of six Dickens figures Harradine had modelled for Lambeth.

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One of Harradine’s six Dickens figures made for Lambeth – Mr Micawber

However, not under any circumstances would Harradine consider working at Burslem, but via Lambeth’s Art Director Joseph Mott’s intervention, a meeting between Noke and Harradine was arranged whereby Noke travelled to London to meet with Harradine. The result of this meeting was of course that arrangement that has become legend amongst Doulton figure collectors. Thus Noke and Harradine came to an arrangement, whereby Harradine would send a succession of models to Burslem for Noke’s approval and a change of allegiance to Doulton’s of Burslem. This was an arrangement that lasted almost 40 years and would continue when Noke’s son succeeded him as Art Director in 1936 at Burslem. Harradine modelled in his preferred medium – salt glaze stoneware and sent one or two models per month wrapped in brown paper, and whose arrival would cause something of a stir when they arrived in Burslem.

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Here are two of Harradine’s original models for Burslem figures, both of Mr Micawber (first and second versions)

His models would deliver the popular success that the HN range had hitherto not achieved, representing fashions and interests from their own era. Harradine modelled women, men and children with equal skill. His figures entered the HN range in 1920 with The Princess HN391 until 1956, when his last ‘new’ model was introduced, Dimity HN2169, although many of his studies remained in production decades after this.

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The very stylish Clothilde in two colourways

At last Noke had found a modeller who could tap into the so-called ‘moment’ whatever it was, whether it is flapper girls, Victorian ladies, children or group studies. All were executed with precision and subtle style. Harradine remained something of a nomad yet he continued sending in models from addresses in England, the Channel Islands and Spain until the end of this great partnership.

In our final part to the Harradine story, we will look at Leslie Harradine, the family man.

Doulton’s Child studies by Leslie Harradine

Child studies have always been popular with Royal Doulton collectors, and from the launch of the HN range child studies have played a key role in the range. We all know of course the famous story behind Darling HN1 modeled by Charles Vyse, but collectors are sometimes surprised to see that Leslie Harradine, perhaps the most collected of all Royal Doulton modellers, also created many charming portraits of children. With six children of his own he certainly had much in real life to base his models on. Unfortunately we do not know if any of the figures he supplied to Royal Doulton were based on any of his own children, but we do know a few of the sources he used.

If you look at my book ‘Reflections’ you will see a section dedicated to Molly Benatar and Harradine based his Miss Muffet HN1937 clearly on one of Benatar’s designs for Raphael Tuck, the greetings card specialist. Even the coloring of this figure is copied from the original.

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Miss Muffet HN1937 and Molly Benatar’s ‘When hearts are young’ illustration

A recent discovery of mine is also that Nana HN1766 is based on another of Benatar’s pictures. The skirt, the hair and the hat worn identify Nana.

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Molly Benatar illustration and Nana HN1766

Another of Harradine’s most popular child studies is Sweeting and she , dressed in her party frock, was inspired by an advert for the once eminent London department store Marshall and Snellgrove.

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Sweeting HN1938

Other child figures by Harradine simply reflect childhood at its most innocent, consider Pyjamas HN1942 or To bed HN1805, either of whom could have been anyone of us in our early years. Harradine was able to capture a certain charm in his child studies, just as his did so perfectly with the bevy of ladies in so many varying guises, that he now is famed for.

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Pyjamas HN1942

One particularly popular child figure is Marie HN1417 introduced in 1930. A purple version of this figure was made up until 1988. Originally made as a pair to Rose HN1368, they can both be found in complimentary as well as contrasting colorways, and more unusually you can find them mounted on bookends and other objects. The enduring popularity of Rose meant that a new colorway HN2123 was introduced in 1983.

As with most Harradine figures, his child studies were also issued in several colourings. Particular favourites of mine are Lily HN1789, Ruby HN1724 and Diana HN1716. All three young girls display perfectly with their taller counterparts. Harradine understood precisely Royal Doulton’s requirements and when a popular theme was established he sought to develop it further. The world-famous Royal Doulton street sellers is one such case where a child study, namely Linda HN2106 was introduced to expand that series.

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Diana HN1716

A final figure I would like to bring to your attention is The Rocking Horse HN2072. This particular figure I am sure you will agree is simply charming. The only reason I can summise for its short production (1951-53) is that the figure was too costly to produce. The inspiration for the piece is no doubt the film The Rocking Horse Winner from 1949, where the young hero discovers he can predict race winners by rocking his horse.

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The Rocking Horse HN2072

Complimentary Colourways – displaying your Doulton

As soon as the term colourway is used, many suddenly think of the unique and unusual. Doulton, however, seem to have had a much wider view of the term. Certainly during the inter-war years of the 1920’s and 1930’s many figures were available in colourways to compliment existing figures in the range. Take for example the selection of two-tone green figure: Barbara (HN1461), Paisley Shawl (HN1460), Patricia (HN1462), Miss Demure (HN1463), Sweet Anne (HN1453) and Victorian Lady (HN1452).

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Clearly this set was produced to compliment one another. Other such sets include Sweet Anne(HN1496), Dorcas (HN1558) and Priscilla (HN1559);

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Another group is Veronica (HN1650), Sweet and Twenty (HN1649), Janet (HN1652) and Camille (HN1648) (not illustrated); and below you can see Pantalettes (HN1362), Victorian Lady (HN1345) and Sweet Anne (HN1318);

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As can be seen from the illustrations here, even the ‘M’ range figures reflect this trend. Child figures too can be group together in complimentary colouring such as Monica (HN1467) and Marie (HN1635) below.

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A clear favourite colourway amongst  collectors has of course always been the ‘red’ figures and this began in the 1920’s when figures such as Spanish Lady (HN1294) and then later Marguerite (HN1948) and Christmas Morn (HN1992) began to appear. A paricular favourite of mine has always been Pantalettes (HN1709) seen below.

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Whatever your reasons for collecting, once you have a sizable group of figures you are sure to find a theme or group that will help create your perfect display and of course that is part of the fun of collecting – how to display your collection to its best advantage.

If you have any particular groupings that you have put together please write in with a picture for us to all share!