The Art Deco period from the 1920s to the 1930s was an exciting time in the world of ceramics. In the wake of the 1925 Paris Exhibition, the flowing forms of art nouveau gave way to colorful geometric designs. Art Deco sculptors portrayed scantily clad ladies in artful poses which inspired Royal Doulton artist, Leslie Harradine, to model a stylish collection of figurines.
Charles Noke was born in Worcester in 1858, close to the famous china factory. His father was a connoisseur, collector and dealer in antiques with one of the largest collections of old china in the country. As a boy, young Charles was fascinated with porcelain figurines and in his school holidays roamed the Worcester studios watching the artists at work. With the encouragement of their most gifted modeler, James Hadley, he took home some clay and began modeling small elephants and a Jester figure, subjects that continued to inspire him throughout his career. At the age of 15, Noke started work as an apprentice modeler at the Worcester factory and also began studying at the local School of Design.
|Good King Wenceslas Color Variation 1952 Height: 8.75 inches|
This color variation of Good King Wenceslas dates from 1952 and differs from the regular figure in several respects. It is beautifully painted in shades of bright yellow and purple and it is clearly one of the first pieces to be taken from the mold with very crisp detailing. Good King Wenceslas HN2118 was modeled by Peggy Davies and proved to be a very popular Christmas figure, remaining in production for 23 years. It was produced briefly in a miniature size as HN3262 between 1989 and 1992.
This exotic figurine advertising Grossmith’s perfume from 1923. The oriental lady is promoting Tsang Ihang sweet perfume of Tibet, which has ‘an undying fragrance of the mystic east imparting to the user an atmosphere of distinctive charm and fascination’. Royal Doulton’s figurine was derived from a Grossmith’s advertisement of 1921 and was used to promote the Grossmith brand in perfume boutiques and luxury shops around the world. Grossmith’s perfumes all had exotic names, such as Shem-El-Nessim, the Scent of Araby; Wana-Ranee, the Perfume of Ceylon; and Phul-Nana, bouquet of Indian flowers, which made a cameo appearance in series 3 of Downton Abbey. The Grossmith advertisements evoked romantic images of foreign lands to arouse the senses of their customers. World travel was fascinating to the public but only the very rich could afford to go far. The trend-setters and fashion leaders of the era were royalty who were rich and influential. Grossmith made scent for Queen Victoria and in the 1900s had Royal Warrants from the Queen of England, the King of Spain and the Royal Court of Greece.
The existence of fairies was ‘proven’ in the 1920s with the famous hoax of the Cottingley photographs which purported to show fairies dancing at the bottom of the garden. Royal Doulton responded to this new fairy phenomenon with a beautiful collection of fairies cavorting amongst flowers and toadstools modeled by Leslie Harradine. Six different models of fairy figures were accessorized with different flowers, assembled petal by petal. They were decorated in a variety of colors and a total of 16 HN numbers were issued in 1929 and 1930. Continue reading Do you Believe in Faries?
The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg will be marked by ten continuous days of ceremonies, programs and re-enactments in July. The Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in American history and the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 was the most famous confrontation with over 50,000 casualties in three days. The Union victory signaled the end of the war although it took nearly two more years to finish. The commemoration coincides with July 4th celebrations around the country so this is a good time to look at some of the great Americana collectibles from Royal Doulton and other famous potteries.
Flowers are bursting into bloom in this month’s Highlights catalog featuring our superb inventory of street vendors. Our cover girl is the rare Yardley’s Old English Lavender, which was the first street vendor modeled by Leslie Harradine. The streets of London were once alive with colorful flower sellers calling for custom with their melodic cries. In the late 1700s, Francis Wheatley exhibited a series of paintings inspired by the Cries of London and engravings of his itinerant street vendors were influential for centuries afterwards.
Regardless of gender, the new arrival will be third in line to the British throne. Will it be a girl or a boy? Excitement is mounting in anticipation of the birth of the royal baby in July. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge say they want to be surprised when their baby is born. Regardless of gender, the new arrival will be third in line to the British throne.
Following amendments to the Succession of the Crown Act 2013, no longer will males take precedence. A girl could be queen after Prince Charles and Prince William, regardless of any brothers born later.
Meanwhile British book-makers are doing a roaring trade in bets about the sex, date of birth, name and even the hair color of the royal baby. Maybe it will be July 1st, the birthday of the baby’s late grandmother, Diana, Princess of Wales? We wish the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge much happiness when their firstborn arrives.
This exquisite bone china tray painted with cherubs by Charles Labarre dates from 1892 and was probably exhibited at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Labarre worked for Doulton’s Burslem Pottery for less than a year so signed pieces are extremely rare. He was renowned for his painting of amorini and other classical figures in the style of Sèvres, the French porcelain factory where he worked also. Doulton’s Art Director, John Slater, invited Labarre to travel from Paris to Stoke-on-Trent in order to decorate some of the important exhibition vases modeled by Charles Noke.
According to the fashionistas, many of this year’s June brides will be wearing gowns inspired by the Downton Abbey weddings in the hugely popular TV series. Lady Mary wore an elegant 1920s gown accessorized with a diamond tiara and a sheaf of calla lilies. Lady Edith looked equally stunning in a Grecian style satin gown. I was struck by how much the Downton Abbey brides resembled the Royal Doulton figurines which were modeled by Leslie Harradine in the early 1930s. Lady Edith looks like The Bride HN1588 and Lady Mary has the statuesque style of Wedding Morn HN1866.