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]

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]

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-burslem Luscian Ware Hand Painted English Porcelain Vase CowsVintage Royal Doulton Porcelain Dog Scottish Terrier Hn 1016 Scottie Royal Doulton Hn 2471 Victoria Excellent Example, Beautiful ColoursRoyal Doulton Carnation 30 Piece Tea Set C1982Royal Doulton Art Deco Lynn Pattern D5204 8.5" Squat Lidded TeapotC 1895 Doulton Lambeth Faience Art Pottery Vase 14’’ Painted Floral Daffodils E20thc Doulton Kingsware Memories Jug With Silver Plated Rim & Lid Vintage Royal Doulton Porcelain Collie Dog Hn 1059 Ch. Ashtead Applause PerfectRoyal Doulton Pottery Model Of A Gloucester Old Spot PigVintage Royal Doulton Porcelain Dog Scottish Terrier K18 1940 - 1977 Royal Doulton Bunnykins Music Box Carol Singer - Db53 - Issued From 1986 To 1990Royal Doulton Toby Jug King And Queen Of Clubs - D6999 - Limited Edition 2500Rare Vintage Royal Doulton Porcelain Dog Cocker Spaniel With Pheasant Hn 1029Vintage Royal Doulton Porcelain Dog Sealyham Terrier K3 Vintage Royal Doulton Porcelain Dog Cocker Spaniel Hn 1037 Original Royal Doulton Kingsware 1918 "admiral Of The Fleet" Dewar's Whiskey Flask JugSuperb Set Of Six Royal Doulton Eden Pattern V1112 Coffee Cups / Cans & SaucersBlue Willow Large Doulton Holbein Glaze JugAntique Big Large Royal Doulton Lambeth Vase Blue And StoneFour Rare Royal Doulton White Glazed Character Jugs, 2 Small, 2 Miniature Vintage Royal Doulton Viking D6496 Large Toby Jug Mug Character Retired #5 Yqz1878 Big 9.5"doulton Lambeth Pitcher W/impressed Snowflakes & Molded Flowers Hh1994 Royal Doulton Tiny Tobie's Collection 6 Piece Limited Edition SetVintage Royal Doulton Yachtsman D6622 Large Toby Jug Mug Character Retired 4 YqzAntique Royal Doulton Poppy Pattern PlateRoyal Doulton D6312 'poppies In A Cornfield' Rack Plate Series WareRoyal Doulton Small Character Toby Jug - Scaramouche D6561 1994 Royal Doulton Limited Edition 60th Anniversary Mini Toby Jug CollectionVintage Royal Doulton Happy John 8321 Large Toby Jug Mug Character Retired 1 YqzVintage Royal Doulton Kookaburra Bird Plate ~ C.1923 ~ Pattern No. D4206 Great 1876 Doulton Lambeth English Stoneware Pitcher With Figural SpoutVintage Royal Doulton Granny W Tooth D5521 Large Toby Jug Mug Character #3 YqzRoyal Doulton Gemstones Swarovski.. June Pearl... Box,paperwork & CertificateVintage Royal Doulton Robin Hood D6527 Large Toby Jug Mug Character Retired2 YqzVintage Royal Doulton Character Mug Toby Cup Yachtsman D 6626 England 7.5" TallRoyal Doulton Hn 3002 Marilyn Excellent Example, Beautiful ColoursVintage Royal Doulton Porcelain Dog Jack Russell Terrier With Ball Hn 1029 Antique Royal Doulton English Stoneware Flower Frog W/monk Scenic DecorationRoyal Doulton Hn 2698 Sunday Best Excellent Example, Beautiful ColoursVintage Royal Doulton Character Mug Toby Cup The Walrus & Carpenter D 6600 7" TVintage Royal Doulton Character Mug Toby Cup Mine Host D 6468 England 6.75" TallRoyal Doulton Toby Jugs! The Fire King And The Ice Queen! Ltd Editions! V Rare! Tidbit Tray Two Tier, Blue Willow Pattern, Royal Doulton China Co. EnglandAntique Doulton Lambeth Stoneware Hunt Scene Relief Silver Rim 2piece Shaker SetRoyal Doulton England Series Ware "fox Hunting John Peel" Set Six 7.75" Plates4 Royal Doulton Brambly Hedge Plates Four Seasons 8" Lunch Plates 1982 England Vintage Royal Doulton Character Mug Toby Cup Don Quixote D 6455 England 7.5" TRoyal Doulton England Series Ware "fox Hunting John Peel" Set Of Four Mugs/cups 19th Century Royal Doulton Lambeth Silicon Ware Stoneware Decorated Vase NrVintage Royal Doulton Character Mug Toby Cup Golfer D 6623 England 7.75" TallRoyal Doulton Brambly Hedge Year Plate 2003 Kitchen Scene 8"Early Royal Doulton Norfolk TeapotRoyal Doulton Carlyle Four 8 Inch Rim Soup Bowl H5018Beautiful Antique Royal Doulton Shaped Jug/pitcher Kingsware Motto SayingVintage Royal Doulton Character Mug Toby Cup Athos Three Musketeers D 6452 7.5"tAntique Doulton Lambeth Stoneware Hunt Scene Relief Silver Rim Pot SetVintage Royal Doulton Character Mug Toby Cup Robin Hood D 6527 England 7.25"tRoyal Doulton - Booths Real Old Willow - Five Serviette / Napkin Rings Vintage Royal Doulton Character Mug Toby Cup Auld Mac D 5823 England 6.25" TallRoyal Doulton Provencal T.c.1034 Trio. Cup Saucer And Plate. English Translucent