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]

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]

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]

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    

Royal Doulton Bunnykins Plate Signed Barbara Vernon : Dog Pulling Cart Design !Royal Doulton Bunnykins Plate Signed Barbara Vernon : Rare 1941 Airmail Design !Royal Doulton Rare Green Kingsware Dewar Whisky Britannia Jug Flask Rd670019Lovely Royal Doulton Brambly Hedge Autumn & Winter Tea Set - 060 W45Antique Vintage Royal Doulton English China Biscuit Barrel W/ Epns Silver LidRoyal Doulton Large Character Jug Oliver Cromwell - D6968 - Lmt.edition 2500Royal Doulton Brambly Hedge Minature Trio The Wedding Beautiful Look!!!Royal Doulton Brambly Hedge Minature Trio The Birthday Beautiful Look!!!Royal Doulton Rare June H.n.2027Original 19th C. Doulton Burslem English Flow Blue Iris Pitcher 1890 No ReserveRoyal Doulton Bunnykins Plate Signed Barbara Vernon : Wedding CeremonyA Superb Antique Royal Doulton Seriesware Flask With Silver Mounts Signed Noke Royal Doulton Large Character Jug Field Marshall Montgomery-d6908Royal Doulton Large Character Jug Gulliver - D6560 - Issued From 1962 To 1967Royal Doulton Art Deco Trio - ***poppy*** Spectacular ConditionCollectable Royal Doulton Bone China Brambly Hedge Plate Homewood BoundRoyal Doulton 'judge Bunnykins' Db188 Colour TrialRoyal Doulton Art Deco Trio - **arvon** (lemon Tree)Antique Ca1910 Royal Doulton Poppies Seriesware 8.25" Bowl D3227Royal Doulton Brambly Hedge "minature" Teapot Beautiful Look!!!Royal Doulton Rare Flambe Seated Fox Highly Collectable Royal Doulton Bunnykins William Reading Without Tears Db401 Beautiful Retired Royal Doulton Fleur Hn2369 Rarer Orange And Blue DressLovely Royal Doulton Bunnykins Teapot, ''roller Skating'', Rare, Ex Con ,1st Royal Doulton Dickens Seriesware Cm Miniature Tony Weller Jug EnglandL@@k Rare Vintage Royal Doulton Advertising Shop Display Cabinet Sign PlaqueNorth American Indian - D6614 - Royal Doulton Small Quality Character / Toby JugRoyal Doulton Character Jug Rip Van Winkle D6438 Royal Doulton Bunnykins 3 Piece Nursery Set - Plate, Cup And BowlHighly Collectable Royal Doulton Bunnykins Sightseer Bunnykins Db215 Antique Royal Doulton Stoneware/art Nouveau Style Pottery Studio VaseRoyal Doulton Wild Pansy Jug And Sugar Bowl Set D5806 Gorgeous Pattern1936 Issue Royal Doulton Kingsware Rev Stiggins Decanter Bottle Jug Spout RepairRoyal Doulton "brittany Fisherfolk" Series Ware Planter - England 1924 -1942Old Royal Doulton Majolica Whiskey Jug Flask Pitcher EwerRoyal Doulton Art Deco Merryweather Pattern Sandwich Plate Circa 1920Royal Doulton Flambe Penguins Hn133 Or Hn103 - 1913-1946 Antique / Art Nouveau Royal Doulton Vase C1914 - Cobalt Blue & GiltRare Royal Doulton Stoneware Toby Jug #8588 Possibly Forerunner Of D6107Anne Boleyn - D6651 - Royal Doulton Miniature Quality Character / Toby JugRobin Hood - D6534 - Royal Doulton Small Quality Character / Toby Jug Claude Monet D7150 Royal Doulton Rare Character JugSuper Gorgeous & Rare Doulton Tinworth Mouse On Current Bun Excellent Condition43pc Vintage Royal Doulton Lambeth Stoneware Group England Royal Doulton "nasturtium" D 6091 Rope Handle Creamer JugRare Royal Doulton Pitcher "blood Money"Royal Doulton "nasturtium" D 6091 Breakfast Or Grandfather Cup And SaucerThe Sleuth - D6635 - Royal Doulton Small Quality Character / Toby Jug Beautiful Antique Doulton Lambeth Stoneware Pitcher With Raised Flowers #9568Antique Doulton Burslem England Madras Flow Blue Soup Salad Serving Bowl Ca 19001987 Royal Doulton Brambly Hedge The Wedding Teacup Saucer Tea Cup 4 SeasonsDoulton Burslem Plate, WonderfullAthos - D6452 - Royal Doulton Small Quality Character / Toby Jug The Walrus & Carpenter - D6604 - Royal Doulton Quality Character / Toby Jug Childs Royal Doulton 2 Piece Bunnykins Plates 8" & 6" Biege UkVintage Flow Blue Plate, Watteau Pattern, Doulton, Burslem, EnglandVintage Royal Doulton Bunnykins Childs White Footed Egg Cup, Bunnies Gardening Antique Doulton Burslem Biscuit JarC. 1930 Royal Doulton .windmill & River Scene . Woodcut Vase No. 1603Rip Van Winkle- D6517 - Royal Doulton Miniature Quality Character / Toby Jug