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Why Is Royal Doulton Sung Ware So Rare?

Debbie Porter

We sell many different Royal Doulton pieces at auction including Sung Ware. Get in touch if you are looking for something in particular, or if you are looking to sell at auction.

Royal Doulton Sung Ware was developed under chief designer Charles Noke along with Royal Doulton’s chemists and potters from 1920 onwards using a flambé glaze along with painted and gilt decoration. 

Doulton Sung Ware was first introduced as a brand in the 1920s at the time when Doultons had created their own version of Flambé glaze.  Chemists at the firm started to trial with the Sung glazes, and by controlling the different temperatures created a unique and stunning multi-coloured glaze.  Charles Noke, Arthur Eaton and Harry Tittensor incorporated these glazes into the designs on the individual items to create one-off pieces of art.

A Royal Doulton Sung ware footed fruit bowl decorated with Birds of Paradise, sold by Potteries Auction

Lot 312 – A Royal Doulton Sung ware footed fruit bowl decorated with Birds of Paradise, sold for £460 at our Rare 20th Century British Pottery & Antique Auction in March 2019.

Birds of Paradisedragonsbirdslionstigers and snakes were depicted in these pieces as well as landscapes, reminiscent of traditional Chinese pottery. 

Amongst these pieces were large exhibition size vases of 30-40 inches in height, but also many smaller vases, dishes and bowls that would comfortably grace any household, made up the range.

The same problems of controlling kiln temperature also affected the Chinese-inspired Jade Ware produced by Royal Doulton, which consequently were only made in limited numbers from 1920 until the 1940s. These were thick creamy glazed pieces coloured to resemble the precious stone. Chang Ware, however, took advantage of the inevitable accidents of the kiln and Sung items that reacted wrongly or didn’t come out as saleable items then had Chang glazes applied to recover them creating such rare and unique pieces that drives their modern day value.

A Royal Doulton Flambe Sung pumpkin vase and A Royal Doulton early Flambe Sung dish, both sold by Potteries Auctions

Lot 332 – A Royal Doulton Flambe Sung pumpkin vase, sold for £320 at our Antique, Rare Pottery and Fine Art Sale in July 2018, and Lot 266 – A Royal Doulton early Flambe Sung dish, sold for £290 at our Two Day Auction of Rare 20th Century British Pottery, collectors items, jewellery, & antiques last month.

Selling Royal Doulton at Auction

If you have Royal Doulton pieces you’re looking to sell, their pieces consistently perform well at auction and our staff is well-placed to provide valuations and advice on selling your items. Call 01782 638100 or to book a valuation appointment to attend one of our Tuesday valuation days. We also provide valuations via WhatsApp, simply send some clear photographs of your items via the app to 07864 667940. Additionally, we can send you links to our catalogues via WhatsApp–message the above number via the app and ask to receive our catalogues. Make sure you are subscribed to our email newsletters, too!