Royal Doulton has become one of the most well known producers of tableware and collectables in the UK and north America. Its origins were in London but its reputation grew in the area known as ‘the potteries’ in the town of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England. The Potteries have been home to many illustrious makers such as Spode, Wedgwood and Minton.
King Edward VII awarded the first Royal Warrant of appointment to (as then) Doulton in 1901. The Doulton Company then became The Royal Doulton Company. Today the Royal Doulton brand holds two Royal warrants of appointment from HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales.
The Royal Doulton brand is part of the group which also includes Waterford and Wedgwood. Today, the Royal Doulton name is found on porcelain, dinnerware, giftware, cookware, glassware, collectables, jewellery, linens, curtains, and lighting. The company’s other principle brands are Royal Albert and Minton.
The company was founded in Lambeth, London in 1815 by John Doulton, Martha Jones, and John Watts. That year, John Doulton had completed his apprenticeship as a potter and invested his life savings of £100 in the Vauxhall Walk pottery of Martha Jones. Her foreman John Watts was also offered a partnership and the new firm became known as Jones, Watts and Doulton.
It specialised in salt glaze stoneware as well as stoneware bottles for beer and other liquids. In 1835 John’s 15 year old son Henry Doulton was taken on as an apprentice. By the age of 26, Henry had set up his own Lambeth Pottery which had become the leader in industrial and sanitation products. Following the retirement of John Watts in 1853, Doulton and Watts merged with Henry’s company to become Doulton and Company. By 1871, Henry had launched the Lambeth Studio with local designers and artists (from the Lambeth School of Art) who experimented with a variety of materials and glazes in an industrial setting. Their names included the Barlow family, Frank Butler, Mark Marshall, Eliza Simmance, and George Tinworth. Today their pioneering work commands increasingly high prices.
It was a success story that would go on to be made in Stoke-on-Trent. In 1877 Henry purchased a major shareholding in the factory of Pinder, Bourne and Co at Nile Street in Burslem, Staffordshire – a facility that handled tableware as well as ornaments and earthenwares.
Between the World Wars, the name Royal Doulton became synonymous with the finest English china across the world. Innovation and inspiration were key to its growth, whether that be flambé ware, titanian ware, or bone china. And it didn’t stop there. Royal Doulton had launched its definitive HN Series of Pretty Lady figurines in 1913 and these collectables went from strength to strength. Under Charles Noke, it successfully moved into the market for Character Jugs too. What’s more, it had established Bunnykins as nurseryware in 1934, moving into collectable figurines by 1939.
Royal Doulton tableware retains its traditional quality with a modern touch – Biltmore bone china, with its underwater marbled pattern and gilt edged luxury, has remained a popular favourite since its launch in 1991.
Today, Royal Doulton offers a wide range of products spanning the classic and the contemporary, tableware and collectables, oven to tableware, and personal style.
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