Royal Doulton Figurines History


Royal Doulton Figurine Little Boy Blue
Little Boy Blue

There have been over 4000 different models of Royal Doulton figurines manufactured since their introduction in the 1890s.

Although Doulton had produced figures from the mid-19th century, production did not really take off until c1913 under modeller C. J. Noke, when the HN (for Harry Nixon, head of figure painting department) model numbering system was introduced for a new collection.  During the 20th century production mushroomed under the guidance of Noke and Leslie Harradine. 

The design of figures tends to reflect the taste of the times in which they are made.

Many collectors collect to a particular theme or designer.  From the striking character figures of through to the ever popular 'Street Vendors' series and on to the Prestige range.  Then there are colour ways, special & limited editions.  There remains something to suit all tastes and budgets.

As with most areas of collection scarcity and popularity dictate price.  However, condition is of key importance to value. Only figures in mint condition will command the highest prices. Scratches, wear to paint and especially cracks and other similar serious damage, or restoration will reduce value dramatically.

The Royal Doulton "HN" numbering system has proven to be a very orderly way of identifying each individual Royal Doulton figure. Harry Nixon to which the "HN" refers, was in charge of the new figure painting department in Doulton's very early years.  The HN numbering system has endured the test of time to be still in effect today. Over time, Royal Doulton has issued HN numbers for the 4,000+ figures produced, although they are not all new models - some are assigned to specific colourway variations and some cross over to be used to identify animal figures.