The History of Royal Doulton Figurines

Royal Doulton figurines are hand painted figures from a company with a long history.

These figurines are just a portion of the Doulton pottery legacy, but they have made a memorable impact.

The Doulton company started out as a family business: it all starts with a man named John Doulton.

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One of the many figures gracing the S&C ETC. store with its presence.

John was one of the best pot throwers in London. He formed a company along with potter Martha Jones and foreman John Watts, called Jones, Watts, and Doulton. They specialized in salt glazed stoneware, a material that would come to be especially useful later.

After the company became Doulton & Watts, a young Henry Doulton, the son of John Doulton, joined at age fifteen. He soon proved a knack for pottery making. Henry saw that salt glazed stoneware would help improve drain and sewer pipes, and took the initiative to install the manufacturing machinery for such pipes. This improved the company’s success immensely.

The company made the change to simply Doulton & Company in 1854. Around the same time, John Doulton experimented with different glazes and effects.

Henry took over the company after the death of his father in 1873. Following the trend at the time, he started making porcelain pieces in bright colors, and soon the company became well-known for its high-class pottery throughout the world.article img01

The company’s great reputation spread to the British Royal family, and Queen Victoria herself knighted Henry Doulton in 1887 for contributions to ceramic art.

To add to the royal influence, in 1901 King Edward VII gave Doulton & Company’s factory the Royal Warrant.

The company continued to be passed down from son to son. In 1913, King George V and Queen Mary gave a visit to the Burslem Studio. During the visit, Queen Mary picked up a new model of a small boy in a nightshirt and said, “Isn’t he a darling!” Inspired by the Queen, the figure’s name was changed from “Bedtime” to “Darling”.

The Queen bought copies of the figure, and as with anything with the royal stamp of approval, the figure was designer Charles Vyse’s most successful figurine.

This was the start of the Doulton company’s figurine line that still continues today. Though the two World Wars limited production, around that time a new designer named Leslie Harradine designed most of the collection and created timeless pieces that would firmly establish the Royal Doulton figurines as well-worth collecting.article img03

In 1939 Peggy Davies joined the team. She is most well known for her “Pretty Ladies” line, the pictures for which you can see in this post.

Royal Doulton marks are used on their pieces, which help identify the model and designer of a piece.

While there have been a number of style changes in the line throughout the years, reflecting the styles of the times, what is certain is the beauty of the Royal Doulton pieces.

The company’s extensive history, only a fraction of which is mentioned here, adds to the richness of their products.

Do you have any Doulton figurines or pottery? Let us know in the comments!



A great long history

A history with interesting tidbits

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