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    

Antique Royal Doulton Witch Plate 10 5/8" Rare English Pottery HalloweenVery Rare Large Royal Doulton Titanian Blue Glaze Vase By F. Henri Ca 1902-1922Royal Doulton Flambe Hare Crouching , Rare Style OneRoyal Doulton Flow Blue Childrens Vase Perfect And Rare! Beautiful Antique Royal Doulton Vase Hand Painted By Jack Price Circa 1902-1922A Very Rare Royal Doulton Flambe Large Powder Pot Bowl & Lid With Bird Knob.Royal Doulton "dewar's Imperial" Whisky JugSigned Royal Doulton Bunnykins Cup & Saucer - Barbara VernonRoyal Doulton Porcelain - Flow Blue & White Children Vase - Unusual!Royal Doulton Her Ladyship Rare Rare: Magnificent 8 Piece Vintage Royal Doulton Raby Rose Breakfast Service/setRoyal Doulton Blue Children Two Handled Vase Girl Playing GuitarVintage Royal Doulton Home Again Girl & Spitz Dog Hn2167 Dated 1955Royal Doulton Groucho Marx D6710 Large Character Jug Celebrity Collection Mint!Royal Doulton Flambe Veined 1612 Vase Perfect Condition And First QualityVintage 1966 Royal Doulton Toby Mug Jug Small D6613 The Lumberjack Scruffy YqzVintage C 1927 Royal Doulton Toby Mug Jug Sairey Gamp D5528 Charles Dickens YqzRoyal Doulton Louis Armstrong D6707 Large Size Jug Celebrity Collection Mint!Vintage Royal Doulton Character Toby Jug/mug Small D6552 Mint 1960 3 1/2" YqzRoyal Doulton The Auctioneer D6838 Large Size Character Jug Limited Edition MintRoyal Doulton Rip Van Winkle D6463 Character Toby Pitcher/jug/mug 1954 Mint YqzRoyal Doulton "night Watchman" Bowl C: 1901 Large - Diameter Of 8" X 3 1/4" TallEngland Ironstone Pottery Flow Blue Platter Madras Burslem DoultonRoyal Doulton Dickens Ware Mr Squeers Spill Vase - MarkedAntique Royal Doulton Series Ware Two Handled Lidded BowlAntique Doulton Burslem Melrose Pat Flow Blue,rare..18" Platter..turkey !!..wow Royal Doulton Blue Children Stem Vase Whispering GirlsRoyal Doulton Trinket Box --“spring” Pattern From The Brambly Hedge CollectionRoyal Doulton 'sleeping Beauty' Hn3079 Modelled By Adrian HughesRoyal Doulton W C Fields D6674 Large Character Jug Celebrity Collection Mint!Royal Doulton Violets Gravy Boat And Saucer C1930sDoulton Burslem~syrup Pitcher~flow Blue~floral With Butterfly~1886-1902! Miniature Mint Fortune Teller Royal Doulton Toby Character Jug/mug D6523 YqzVtg. Doulton Lambeth Salt Glazed Stone Ware Motto Pitcher Landlord's InvitationRoyal Doulton China Reynard The Fox Creamer Tiny " Auld Mac " Royal Doulton Toby Character Jug/mug Vintage Hard To Find YqzRoyal Doulton Rare Pattern Bunnykins Barbara Vernon Signed Bowl "tug Of War" Royal Doulton Kestrel Whyte & Mackay Whisky Decanter V.g.c. Boxed L@@kRare Doulton Burslem " Oceana " Nautical Scenes Transferware Platter TrayRoyal Doulton Jimmy Durante D6708 Large Character Jug Celebrity Collection Mint!Royal Doulton Mae West D6688 Large Character Jug Celebrity Collection Mint!Fine Antique Doulton Burslem Art Ware Hand Painted Floral Porcelain 12" VaseRoyal Doulton China Reynard The Fox Open Sugar BowlRoyal Doulton Bunnykins 3 Piece China In Original Box. Plate, Cup, BowlRoyal Doulton Toby Mug Jug Small D6539 Robinson Crusoe 1959 YqzRoyal Doulton Booths Real Old Willow Dinner Plates Set 0f Eight (8) 1984 EnglandRare 10" Brambly Hedge Serving Dish Platter Tray Plate Royal Doulton Brambley Antique Doulton Burslem Blue & White Biscuit Barrel Epns Handle & Cover 1896Royal Doulton Pitcher Crackle Series With Polar BearsRoyal Doulton The Antique Dealer D6807 Large Size Jug Limited Edition Mint Tiny Size Cardinal Royal Doulton Toby Character Jugmug Vintage Hard To Find YqzSmall Size Paddy Royal Doulton Toby Character Jug Mug Vintage A Mark Vintage YqzVintage Royal Doulton Miniature Character Jug Toby Mug Gaoler/jailer D6584 YqzRoyal Doulton Flamingo Plate 10" & 8" Floral Black Trim Very Rare Vibrant ColorDoulton Burslem 6" Flow Blue Moto PitcherScarce Royal Doulton Toilet Salesman's SampleRoyal Doulton China Rochelle 4 Dinner Plates 10.5" Blue And GoldAntique Doulton Burslem Flow Blue "willow" Pattern Large Fruit/serving BowlRoyal Doulton Carlyle Pattern CreamerVintage Large Royal Doulton Toby Mug - Sairey Gamp