It originated in London in and expanded its size and reputation through both acquisition and organic growth. Today its products include porcelain, collectibles, dinnerware, glassware, giftware, jewelery, linens and more.
Doulton Home is now part of the Waterford Wedgwood group and most of the current production for these three brands is performed outside of the United Kingdom, in the Far East and Indonesia. John Doulton, born in Fulham in , learned his trade at the Fulham Manufacturing Company, well known as one of the first English commercial producers of stoneware, founded by master potter John Dwight in John Doulton completed his apprenticeship, earning a reputation as one of the best pot throwers in London.
The factory specialized in producing utilitarian salt glazed stoneware, similar to the Fulham factory. In Henry Doulton, the second son of John, joined the firm, at the age of He had a great aptitude for all aspects of pottery making and was soon making major contributions to the business.
In , in response to greater health awareness and the need for glazed piping to replace the older porous brick sewers, Doulton built a pipe factory on what was to become the Albert Embankment. The demand for these products was tremendous and within three years Doulton founded factories in Dudley and St Helens to meet the need for pipes and other sanitary ware. John Watts retired from the company in Many glazes and decorative effects were developed including faience, impasto, silicon, carrara, marqueterie, chine, and rouge flambe.
By , Henry Doulton had launched a studio at the Lambeth pottery and offered work to designers and artists from a local art school. McLennan, John Broad, W. Henry was responsible for new technological innovations to the production of ceramics including a steam driven potters' wheel, which put the Doulton business ahead of its competitors by some ten years.
Henry took full control of the company upon the death of his father, John, in Doulton art director John Slater recognized the growing trend toward gleaming porcelain pieces in brilliant colors, and he saw this new acquisition as an opportunity to move aggressively into these enamel on glaze decorations. By , Doulton was producing world-class wares for an international clientele.
Doulton won honors at major international exhibitions and was producing a tremendous variety of figurines, character jugs, vases and other decorative pieces in vibrant colors and using both under- and on-glaze enameling techniques. Doulton products also came to the attention of the British Royal family. Queen Victoria was so impressed with his wares that she knighted Henry Doulton in for his innovative contributions to ceramic art, and in King Edward VII bestowed upon the Burslem factory the Royal Warrant as well as allowing it to adopt its new name, Royal Doulton.
The company continued to hire talented artists including the next art director Charles Noke, Harry Tittensor, Joseph Hancock, and many others. The company continued to add products during the first half of the 20th century while retaining its reputation as a prime manufacturer of fashionable and high-quality bone china.
The 2 world wars halted production temporarily but in between the wars new pipe works were established at Erith in Kent in when production of pipes moved from the Lambeth site , a acquired pottery near Tamworth became the site for manufacture of electrical insulators and specialist chemical resistant ware and sanitary work slowly moved to Whieldon near Stoke-on-Trent in After World War II, production emphasis shifted to simpler designs, which could be mass produced at more affordable prices.
Another renowned art director, Jo Ledger, joined the company in , and continued producing older designs while at the same time exploiting the newer techniques that allowed Royal Doulton to produce high quality works at modest prices. The Lambeth factory finally closed its doors in , due largely to new clean air regulations that prevented the production of saltglaze in the urban environment.
Doulton figures were made at the Burslem plants from until The majority of Doulton pieces are today made in Indonesia, although the higher-quality items are still made in England at the home of parent company Waterford Wedgwood in Barlaston, in the countryside south of the Potteries.
Acquisitions and the Pearson Interregnum: It first purchased the world-renowned Minton China, a company founded by Thomas Minton in In the same year, Doulton acquired Dunn Bennett, a company founded in when Thomas Wood-Bennett joined his father-in-law William Dunn to begin potting, concentrating on hotelware. Webb Corbett was founded in to make English full-lead crystal; Beswick traced its history to , when James Wright Beswick and his son began producing both table and ornamental ware.
The hand-cut crystal of Webb Corbett later would be rebranded under the Royal Doulton name. Orrok Sherwood Doulton's sons, Mark and Michael, both joined the company.
Michael Doulton joined the company in , working under a fictitious name while learning the different aspects of pottery production. Starting in he began acting as traveling ambassador for the company and with the formation of the Royal Doulton International Collectors Club, a group dedicated to the collection and preservation of Royal Doulton products, he served as honorary president beginning in Although the Doulton family remained an important and integral part to running the business, leadership extended outside the family in later years.
Pearson had a controlling interest in Allied English Potteries and combined the two tableware groups under the Royal Doulton Tableware name. Pearson's emergence in the pottery industry came about almost by accident.
Originally, the Pearson empire was concerned mainly with construction engineering and the development of oil fields. But after investing money into a struggling business called Booth's pottery during the s, Pearson eventually became the controlling shareholder. Then, 20 years later, Pearson began increasing their pottery interests.
In , the company bought Colclough's of Longton, a business founded in that made moderately priced bone china teaware. Pearson combined its Booth pottery with that of Colclough's, forming a new entity called Booth and Colclough. In , Pearson acquired the Lawley Group, a company controlling a national chain of specialist china and glass retailers and pottery manufacturers, including Ridgway and Adderly.
Seven years later they purchased Swinnertons and Alcock, Lindley and Bloor, manufacturers of redware pots. Royal Crown Derby, a luxury brand, traced its roots back to and founder William Duesbury; it was the oldest surviving maker of English porcelain. Founded in , Royal Albert was a tableware maker whose "Old Country Roses," introduced in , was one of the best-selling bone china patterns of all time.
In , Royal Doulton revived the concept of its original Lambethware, creating a casual tableware with a country charm and practicality, being oven and freezer proof and unaffected by detergent or the dishwasher.
Royal Doulton Tableware Limited grew to represent approximately one-third of the entire British tableware industry. Also during the period of ownership by Pearson, Royal Doulton management focused on achieving a greater degree of efficiency at its facilities. The company maintained a dozen factories producing all types and grades of product at that time. Mids and Beyond Pearson began focusing more on its media interests in the s and divested many of its other holdings.
Under the leadership of Stuart Lyons, Royal Doulton returned to a strategy of acquisition in its initial years as a newly independent company. Holland Studio had been founded in as a producer of collectible cold-cast resin sculptures.
Among the subjects of these sculptures were dragons, wizards, frogs, bears, and pigs. Established in Scotland in as a maker of art glass, Caithness Glass expanded into paperweights in and soon gained a world-class reputation for the production of high-quality abstract paperweights. Another development in was the start-up of production at a new manufacturing plant in Indonesia. With sales of fine china stagnant, this new facility was key to the company's strategy of expanding production of casual tableware for two of the company's core export markets, the United States and Japan.
The new facility also was designed to counter the effects of high U. The situation at the company soon worsened. Lyons resigned suddenly in May , after 12 years at the helm, following a failed acquisition of a large U. Further acquisitions were put on hold as the new chief executive, Patrick Wenger, a year company veteran, concentrated on turning around the company's core business. A restructuring was launched that included a workforce reduction of because of the closure of its St. Mary's factory in Stoke-on-Trent as well as a restructuring of the group into six product divisions--tableware, giftware and collectibles, crystal and glass, hotel and airlines, prestige products, and licensing--each headed by its own managing director.
Saddled with too much inventory, Royal Doulton drastically reduced its range of products, cutting the number of tableware patterns from to during Continued inventory overstocking, production overcapacity, and high debt levels combined with the economic turmoil in Asia to further batter Royal Doulton in In the midst of a year in which sales declined 5.
Grossart was an accountant by training who had gained a reputation as a corporate turnaround artist. Within months of his appointment, he was serving as acting chief executive following the involvement of Wenger in a serious automobile accident in Australia in November that left him unable to return to his management duties. In December, Royal Doulton announced a fundamental restructuring program involving the cutting of a further 1, jobs or nearly one-fifth of the remaining workforce , the consolidation of three warehouses into one, a temporary closure of most of the company's U.
Overall, the company was aiming to reduce the number of product lines it produced from 48, to fewer than 20, over the four years that Grossart estimated it would take to complete a turnaround. Needing to modernize its product styles, it also was working to speed up the development of new concepts, attempting to reduce the time from design to market from two years to six months.
Other reasons for the sales decline were the continued economic problems in Asia and the closure of an additional 61 underperforming retail outlets, including both stores and concessions within department stores. Waterford termed the transaction a "strategic investment" and not a prelude to an outright bid, but nevertheless declined to rule out a future bid if a rival takeover company emerged. At the beginning of , Wayne Nutbeen was promoted to chief operating officer, taking over day-to-day management duties from Grossart, who remained chairman.
Nutbeen had worked for Waterford Wedgwood from to , when he was hired away by Royal Doulton to head up the company's Australian subsidiary Nutbeen, in fact, had been in the accident in Australia that ended the career of Wenger. Nutbeen then became head of Royal Doulton's North American operations at the beginning of Disposals marked the first six months of The head office in Stoke-on-Trent was sold.
Sales were down 3 percent, a vast improvement over the year-earlier result. Although it was too early to declare the consummation of a turnaround, and a takeover by Waterford or some other firm was still a distinct possibility, Royal Doulton clearly had made much progress on its road to recovery.
Corning Incorporated; Dansk, Inc. This results in a translucent, but strong body. More than different figures have been produced by Royal Doulton over the years.
Doulton's Rouge Flambe veined sung is high glazed, strong colored wares noted for its fine modeling and exquisite colors used in the animal items in the line. Serial wares Some of the more prominent and popular figures are serial wares. For instance, the Gibson Girl series by Royal Doulton was introduced in plates.
The series was drawn by Charles Dana Gibson. Dickensware pieces by Royal Doulton were produced, based on the writings of Charles Dickens, from to the early s. The Robin Hood series by Royal Doulton was introduced in based on the famous tale of the hero and his merry men. Works based on Shakespeare's characters resulted in two series of production items by Royal Doulton.
Shakespeare's series 1 portrays scenes from the plays were made from until World War II and Shakespeare's series 2 was made from until featuring decorative characters from the writings. The Nursery Rhymes series were first produced in earthenware in and later in bone china and have become a very popular Royal Doulton line.
The Bunnykins series were produced from for children and over bunnykins scenes have been designed. The value of a figurine is determined by how perfect or imperfect it is. A hairline crack makes most figures virtually valueless. Paint chips, crazing, breaks or missing parts also severely diminish value.