Royal Doulton Character Jugs
ROYAL DOULTON CHARACTER JUGS
We have received a consignment of large Royal Doulton Character Jugs from the series ‘Great Military Leaders’ and 'First World War Military Leaders'.
We are sure that any Character Jug collector would be interested in these limited edition jugs that were issued in 2005 and 2007. Designed by Caroline Dadd and modelled by Robert Tabbenor.
According to the book written by Jocelyn Lukins ‘Collecting Royal Doulton Character & Toby Jugs’ John Doulton attended the funeral of Admiral Lord Nelson at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1806, and it is appropriate that the Nelson jug became the first character jug made by Doulton in the early 1820s.
John Doulton probably enjoyed producing something a little more interesting than the hundreds of stoneware utilitarian bottles. Doulton and Watts showed a Nelson jug at the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, London in 1851.
A huge inspirational and innovative talent for Royal Doulton was art director Charles Noke who joined the company in the 1890’s. His vision of the company and his foresight to surround himself with the most brilliant of minds and talents allowed for some of Royal Doulton’s most important lines to be created under his direction as director including the famous HN figurine line and character jugs. The “first character jug” created by Noke in the 1930’s was John Barleycorn, followed soon after by Old Charley. Noke’s love of English literature, song and folklore was strongly apparent in the characters he chose to immortalize in jug form.
The first models made by Noke were made of ivory earthenware that was painted in neutral tones and used a yellow over-glaze to highlight features. The first size was 6 inches tall. In 1935 they added a small size that was just over 3 inches tall, a miniature size just over 2 inches tall joined the ranks in 1937, and by 1940, the tiny was also available. All jugs were issued with a D number that was four digits long. Noke was also responsible for creating a derivative line of products like tobacco pots, sugar bowls, and tooth pick holders because he felt the jugs needed to be useful as well as decorative.
Harry Fenton, Noke’s assistant, adapted his impressionistic style and he designed many characters that had a more realistic than stylized appearance. Trademarks of his work include indented irises to make the eyes more life-like and the use of many wrinkles and blemishes to show the wear of life on his models. Following Noke’s lead they were still fictional characters that were taken from English song, folklore or literature like Auld Mac and Paddy. Fenton was one of Doulton’s most prolific modelers having modelled 26 character jugs, 15 toby jugs and numerous derivative items, a record not broken by another modeler until the 1990’s.
The eruption of World War II interrupted production and forced many changes to models in existence at the time due to the economic constraints from the war. These changes created some of the most sought after of Royal Doulton character jugs for collector’s due to the limited production time. Granny without teeth, the cavalier without a goatee, Drake without a hat, and the red-haired clown all became jugs that go for a huge sum due to their rarity.
Another interesting phenomenon created by the war was the creation of the white or undecorated jug. During the war restrictions were placed on pottery. The only pottery allowed to be decorated was that which was being exported to support the war effort. Pottery that was sold in the UK was left undecorated. This ban was in place from 1942-1952.
Harry Fenton died in 1953 and the responsibility of the character jug line was passed on to designers Max Henk and Geoff Blower. Fenton’s style of impressionist creations was replaced. Henk’s vision of the jugs included replacing the indenting of the irises, phasing out the engraving of the name into the back of the jug and began to make use of the handle as a significant part of the jug’s design. Under Henk, the handles became as complex in nature as did the rest of the jug and often resulted in two or more artists collaborating on the jug and handle in terms of design and modelling responsibility.
Over thirty jugs that were designed by Charles Noke and Harry Fenton were retired while Henk was in charge which signalled the end of the era of character jug design as the company made way for the new and more modernized vision of character jugs Henk created.
The American Toby Jug museum based outside of Chicago, Illinois is an invaluable source of information and a must see for any true collector of character jugs. The people who run the museum are probably the best resource out there for information on the jugs and have also published books on the subject.