Royal Doulton; Florence Barlow, Charles Noke and customer service.

Published 10th April 2013

Although something of a Cinderella company that appeared on the English ceramics landscape somewhat later than the likes of Worcester, Wedgwood and Derby one cannot help but have admiration for Royal Doulton. Formed in 1815, it’s most consistent output, initially was salt glazed stoneware a resilient body used for the ‘pub’ and hotel trade for mugs and jugs, but also for sanitary wares and the tiles used outside.

 a large pair of doulton lambeth pate-sur-pate vases by florence barlow

A large pair of Doulton Lambeth pate-sur-pate vases by Florence Barlow (FS18/538)

But I guess what is most impressive is the sheer diversity of Royal Doulton, it wasn’t long before this practical stoneware was used for art pottery and if you have ever seen the work of George Tinworth, the Barlow sisters, Mark Marshall, Harry Barnard, Eliza Simmance, you would know how adaptable and innovative this most utilitarian of bodies could be. It didn’t stop there either Doulton also made porcelain tableware, commemorative and advertising pieces as well jardinières and fountains on an architectural scale. And of course the ubiquitous character jugs and figures.

 a royal  doulton dickens dream jug by charles noke

A Royal Doulton Dickens Dream jug by Charles Noke (FS18/540)

Embracing diversity and employing some of the best modellers and decorators secured Royal Doulton’s longevity, but as we all know how you treat your customers is also important. In the forthcoming Fine Art Sale on 25th April 2013, we have a ‘Dicken’s Dream’ jug designed by Charles Noke, but with it are also two letters, one type written, responding to a customer query about the level of the limited edition and the other a hand written note from Charles Noke embellished with a pencil sketch of Fagin. Now that’s customer service.

a hand written letter by charles noke regarding the dickens dream jug he designed.

A hand written letter by Charles Noke regarding the Dickens Dream jug he designed (FS18/540)

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