Founded in 1815 by John Doulton and John Watts, Doulton & Co. has long been known for its fine dinnerware, figurines, and art pottery. It has, over the years, produced more than 10,000 watercolor designs for its pottery. Though it is known as Royal Doulton today, that renowned distinction was far from a reality when Doulton and Watts first fired up the kiln at their Lambeth pottery outside of London.

Out of that pottery, Doulton & Co. first produced industrial stoneware, as well as decorative garden pottery. In 1820, the company began calling itself Doulton & Watts, as opposed to simply Doulton & Co. That was the case until 1854—stamps on pieces made after that time reflect the change.

In the 1870s, John Doulton’s son, Henry, turned Doulton & Co. into an inspired studio of decorative arts. The younger Doulton paired himself up with John Sparkes, the headmaster of Lambeth School of Art. With the aid of students, the duo produced well-regarded art pottery that was shown at the South Kensington Exhibitions in 1871 and 1872.

At this point, the pottery at Lambeth was producing everything from flasks and covered jars to fountains and animal statues. Soon, the company would expand. In 1877, Doulton began the process of taking over a factory in Burslem outside of Staffordshire that had previously been controlled by Pinder, Bourne and Company. It was at the Buslem factory that Doulton became known for its fine porcelain.

During the Victorian Era, Doutlon was Britain’s leading producer of sanitary ware. It also built the first stoneware pipe factory. But in the final quarter of the 19th century, the Doulton factory at Buslem really took off, as the china it produced became especially popular in North America. In 1901, Doulton became Royal Doulton, as King Edward VII bestowed upon the company the right to use the word “Royal” preceding its name.

Around this time, Doulton chemists and designers Charles Noke and Harry Nixon were experimenting with innovative ways to glaze bone china. This research led to colors such as their red Flambé and blue Titanium, as well as styles such as Sung.

Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Royal Doulton continued manufacturing art pottery out of its Lambeth headquarters, while it produced china at Burslem. Though the t...

In fact, the specificity of Doulton stamps is one of many reasons why collectors love this company. Its pieces are easily identified, and unlike other companies, there are few, if any, inconsistencies in them. For example, from 1902 on, the stamp included a lion atop a crown. Additionally, Doulton’s artists such as Percy Curnock and Charles Hart almost always signed their work, which is an additional aid to collectors.

Like most all manufacturers, Royal Doulton was influenced by the Art Nouveau movement of the early 20th century and the Art Deco movement a few decades later. World War II interrupted production, and then, by the 1950s, the company’s Burslem branch began referring to itself as Doulton Fine China, Ltd. Less than a year later, the pottery at Lambeth shuttered its doors. Art pottery made at Lambeth remains collectible, especially character jugs and vases.

Production of art pottery, such as a set of jugs based on characters from Charles Dickens’ novels or Mickey Mouse and Disney Princess figures, continues at the Burslem pottery today.

Some of the china patterns that Royal Doulton has become best known for, and are most sought by collectors, include Carlyle (decorative pink) and Old Country Roses, both of which are made by Royal Albert, one of Royal Doulton’s three brands (the other two brands are Royal Doulton and Minton). Indeed, Old Country Roses is the highest selling dinnerware pattern worldwide.

Beginning in 1968, Royal Doulton became a supplier of china to Queen Elizabeth II. It also sent the first china into space on the space shuttle Discovery in 1984.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Thepotteries.org

Thepotteries.org

Steve Birks' super deep site is a tribute to a bygone era, chronicling how a pottery center of excellence (they did… [read review or visit site]

The Scrap Album

The Scrap Album

Malcolm Warrington’s The Scrap Album is a handsomely organized site, as you’d expect from an articulate champio… [read review or visit site]

Gouda Design

Gouda Design

Stuart Lonsdale and Kim Lindley's excellent tribute to and reference on Gouda Dutch Art Pottery and Delftware. The … [read review or visit site]

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

This gallery showcases highlights from the 5,000 items in the museum's ceramics collection dating from 1500-1900. I… [read review or visit site]

Ceramics at The V&A

Ceramics at The V&A

A great reference on ceramics from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Learn about different ceramics techniques and st… [read review or visit site]

Cowan Pottery Museum Associates

Cowan Pottery Museum Associates

Dedicated to raising awareness of the ceramic art work of R. Guy Cowan and his Cowan Pottery Studio in northeastern… [read review or visit site]

Stevengraphs Bookmarks and Postcards

Stevengraphs Bookmarks and Postcards

Malcolm Roebuck's tribute to the ornate silk picture bookmarks and postcards ('Stevengraphs') produced by Thomas St… [read review or visit site]

The Pottery Studio

The Pottery Studio

This 7,000-plus page site lives up to its self-billing as a 'knowledge base' with examples of work from all major a… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1900 Doulton Burslem Bowl With Applied Gilt Dragon & Blue Lily? DecorationRoyal Doulton Character Toby Jug - Manchester United Football Supporter - MintRoyal Doulton Blue Sky Coaching Days Scene Twin Handled Pot Vase 1930'sVintage Royal Doulton D3812 Bluebell Picker Gatherer Rare Hat Pin Holder StandRoyal Doulton Character Toby Jug - Sheffield Wednesday Football Supporter - MintWonderful Antique Royal Doulton Fox Hunting Scenic Pitcher - Purple MarkRare Royal Doulton Rob Roy Kinghsware Whiskey Flask Jug Decanter Greenlees BrosRare In Large Size Royal Doulton Flambe Seated Fox 1935 Vintage 6.5 Inches TallRoyal Doulton Seriesware! Miniature Coal Scuttle/bucket! Dutch Harlem! V Rare!Royal Doulton Character Toby Jug - Aston Villa Football Club Supporter - Mint6 X Royal Doulton Carlyle Coffee Cans Cups & Saucers H5018Rare Royal Doulton Coaching Days Silver Rim Tobacco Jar D2716Royal Doulton Votes For Women H.n.2816Royal Doulton Burslem Blue Children Antique Cabinet Plate Circa 1900Royal Doulton China Reynard The Fox Rectangular BoxRoyal Doulton Old Country Roses Montrose Mug Set Of 4Large Antique Late 19thc Doulton Burslem Painted Windsor Castle Bulbous VaseUltra Rare Royal Doulton Owd Mac Music Jug All Original Excellent ConditionRoyal Doulton Rare Pansy Floating Flower Bowl Vase - Pattern D4049Royal Doulton Seriesware! Tea Caddy! Anne Page! V Rare! Mint!Miniature Royal Doulton Lambeth Pottery Jug Pitcher John Mortlock London5 X Royal Doulton Carlyle Tea Cups & Saucers H5018Rare Royal Doulton Toby Jug Dickens' "sam Weller" 1940s Vintage Made In EnglandVery Rare Royal Doulton Figurein H N 2818 Collectable Extremely Rare L@@k.Rare Royal Doulton Toby Jug Dickens' "sairey Gamp" 1940s Vintage Made In EnglandBeautiful Old Royal Doulton Tea Cup & Saucer Duo With Violets Design E4112 C1929Royal Doulton Large Character Jug Monty D6202Antique Doulton D798 Burslem England Turkey Plate Christmas Holly MistletoeRare Vintage Royal Doulton Bunnykins Oval Serving Plate Barbara Vernon 1945 Royal Doulton Carlyle Coffee Pot H5018Royal Doulton Miniature Pot Dutch SceneRoyal Doulton Pitcher England Gnome Fairy Elf Vintage Marked Rare Antique Old ExVintage Rare 1940's Royal Doulton Bunnykins Barbara Vernon Large Cup SaucerRoyal Doulton Dewar's Whisky Kingsware Jug / Flask. Sporting Squire.Royal Doulton Carlyle Large Milk Jug And Sugar Bowl H5018Rare Royal Doulton Napkin Ring MccawberAntique Royal Doulton Twin Handled ' Children ' Vase *17Antique Royal Doulton Moreton Hall Jug England A/f2003 Royal Doulton Bunnykins Captain The Shipmates Collection Db319 Porcelain Royal Doulton Wyatt Earp D6711 Mid Size Character Jug Wild West Series & Mint!Arts & Crafts Royal Doulton Early 20th Century Vase With Leaf Design 7570 SignedVintage English Porcelain Royal Doulton Praying Baby Girl - Bedtime - 1945Royal Doulton Kingsware Golf Tobacco Jar And BeakerRoyal Doulton Doc Holliday D6731 Mid Size Character Jug Wild West Series & Mint!Royal Doulton Brambly Hedge Merry Midwinter Mug Cup Fine China Christmas W/ Box Royal Doulton Brambly Hedge Miniature Teapot3 X Royal Doulton Kingsware Golf Trays And 1 X Golfers Series Ware Pin DishUnusual Royal Doulton Bone China Owl Candlestick, 1960s Vintage, Made In EnglandRoyal Doulton Lambeth Pitchers Jugs Lot Of 4 Doulton China ,tea Trio C1929 Cup,saucer, Plate, Cobalt & Gilt, Teaset #1 2003 Royal Doulton Bunnykins Boatswain The Shipmates Collection Db323 Porcelain Set 8 Royal Doulton Richelieu 1959 Gold Scalloped Border Porcelain Dinner PlatesRoyal Doulton Carlyle Bone China CollectionRoyal Doulton Babie Hn1679Royal Doulton Character Jug ' Regency Beau ' D 6562 *6Royal Doulton Evesham: Oval Baker Casserole W. Lid: Exc: NrRoyal Doulton Bunnykins Gardener Bunnykins Db 156Antique €Rare Royal Doulton Bayeux Tapestry Large Footed Serving BowlRoyal Doulton Pomeroy Set Of 7~soup 1~cereal 1~fruit Bowls~davenport D5270