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]

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 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]

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]

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]

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]

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    

Antique Royal Doulton Lambeth Toby Jug Pitcher Advertising Ye Olde Cock TavernSmall Antique 19thc 1882 Doulton Lambeth English Art Pottery Vase, NrArt Deco Doulton Shagreen & Silver Desktop Stamp Tray George Betjeman AspreysRoyal Doulton Frank Butler Art Nouveau Pottery Vase C.19002 Antique Small 19thc, Doulton Lambeth, Hunting Ware Series Creamer Pitchers, NLarge 1880’s Royal Doulton Lambeth Slaters Jardiniere Planter Artist Signed Rare Royal Doulton Prototype Color Cavalier Character Jug Excell. ConditionDoulton Lambeth Seated Toby Candlestick Holder By Harry SimeonBeautiful Vintage Royal Doulton Burslem Dark Flow Blue Plate ~ Fox Hunt #1Beautiful Royal Doulton Disney Princesses Collection Sleeping Beauty Dp2Vintage Royal Doulton Toby Jug - Ww2 Prime Minister Winston Churchill - Nice!Beautiful Vintage Royal Doulton Burslem Dark Flow Blue Plate ~ Fox Hunt #2**rare** Ceramic Royal Doulton Lambeth 1883 Salt Shaker .925 Silver Lid SignedBeautiful Vintage Royal Doulton Burslem Dark Flow Blue Plate ~ Fox Hunt #3Royal Doulton Brambly Hedge Apple Pie Recipe Plate - NibTwo Royal Doulton Fox Hunting Butter Pat Plates 1931Royal Doulton "friar Tuck" Large Character Jug By Harry Fenton - 1951 - 1960Absolutely Fabulous Doulton Tinworth Menu Holder Mice Painting Exc. ConditionRoyal Doulton Seriesware - Cake/scone Serving Dish - "coaching Days" - D2716.Royal Doulton Brambly Hedge Tea Pot 551235A Very Rare Doulton Stoneware Longcase Clock Early 20th CenturyFine China Serving Bowl Atlanta 5237 Royal Doulton About 10.5 Inches Royal Doulton Watteau Flow Blue PlateRoyal Doulton - The Winnie The Pooh Collection - Pooh Sticks PlateRoyal Doulton Carlyle Pattern Covered Sugar And CreamerRoyal Doulton Bunnykins "tennis And Strawberries" - Boxed - 2 For The Price Of 1Royal Doulton Seriesware - "coaching Days" Trio - Cup/saucer $22 -- Plate Free.Royal Doulton Brambly Hedge 4 8" Plates, Stump, Cottage, Palace, Dairy 1984Royal Doulton Booths Real Old Willow Majestic Collection Oval Platter T.c. 1126 Royal Doulton Fine China Coffee Pot - FireglowRoyal Doulton Gordon Ramsay Maze In Teal 4 Piece Place Setting Royal Doulton Pin Dish / Butter Pat Dish - Wild Rose (?)Royal Doulton Argenta 10 1/2" Dinner Plates 16 Total Set Of 16 Royal Doulton Argenta 8" Salad Plates*rare* Royal Doulton Dutch Harlem Mcvitie & Price Lidded Biscuit Barrel D1886Vintage Royal Doulton Miramont Coffee Pot & Lid - Discontinued 1983- T.c.1022Royal Doulton Series Ware – Coaching Days Octagonal DishRoyal Doulton Tracy4 Royal Doulton Belmont Dinner Plates Lots Of GoldRoyal Doulton Bunnykins Set Of 4 Porridge Bowl Signed Barbara Vernon, Bowl MugsRoyal Doulton Argenta Bread & Butter Plate. Platinum Trim On White 3 Total Royal Doulton Disney 2 Pc Set Tigger Winnie The Pooh Bowl And PlateRoyal Doulton Classic Pooh Childs Bowl And Handled Christopher Robin MugRoyal Doulton Cake Plate. "minden" Floral PatternRoyal Doulton The Romance Collection Carolyn 3 Bowls 7" Diam 5 Plates 8" DiamRoyal Doulton Steelite Hotelware Mugs Set Of Three.Royal Doulton TeapotVintage Royal Doulton Anthony Forster Village Life Collectors Plate & 1 OtherRoyal Doulton Art Deco Handpainted Honore Design Tea Trio Truly StunningRoyal Doulton Here's A Health Unto Her Majesty Cup - 216Royal Doulton Bunnykins 2 Piece Baby Bowl And Double Handled Mug