How to Identify a Royal Doulton Bowl

Written by maureen katemopoulos
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Painted and glazed ceramic bowls have featured prominently in Royal Doulton production since the early 1900s. However, the bowl's appearance alone cannot be used to identify an authentic Royal Doulton pottery collectable because very convincing copies exist. "Royal Doulton England" was a recognised backstamp from 1902, even though there was no consistent marking system in place during early factory production. Be sure to research the backstamps or combination of maker's marks before making a purchase, or seek expert advice.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Book: "Royal Doulton" by Julie McKeown, 2004

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  1. 1

    Look for Royal Doulton's shimmering red Flambe bowls. Flambe ceramics were introduced in 1901, after extensive experimenting. The fiery, red glaze of Chinese Sung Dynasty pottery inspired Royal Doulton's shimmering, red Flambe bowls. Most Royal Doulton Flambé wares are backstamped "Royal Doulton Flambe." Alternatively, look for the standard Royal Doulton backstamp with the word "Flambe" below.

  2. 2

    Look for painted fishing scenes on cream-coloured ceramics, including an 8-inch flower bowl that portrays smiling and glum fishermen.The Royal Doulton Gallant Fishers series (D3680) was in production from 1913 to 1936. Ensure these items carry the backstamp that is exclusive to this series. It looks like a traditional English pub sign, and the cutout of a fish reads "The Gallant Fishers." "Royal Doulton" is printed above the sign and "England" is printed below.

  3. 3

    Hunt for items of Dickens Ware, a series that honours the English writer, Charles Dickens. First, brush up on Dickens literature. Find the colourful, painted street scenes featuring 31 characters from Dickens' novels, and claim these treasures for your collection. Search for Mr. Pickwick's "Sunday Bowl" or the "Little Nell" bowl, produced between 1931 and 1951. Look for the Dickens Ware mark: a round stamp with the image of Charles Dickens at the centre, encircled by "Royal Doulton Dickens Ware."

  4. 4

    Search for Bunnykins nursery china cereal bowls introduced in 1934. Look for cream coloured ceramic wares featuring painted scenes of clothed rabbits portrayed in everyday home and family situations. Check for the exclusive Bunnykins backstamp which incorporates rabbits around the traditional Royal Doulton mark, with the words "English fine bone china" and "Bunnykins" printed below. Be aware that the original Bunnykins designer was Barbara Bailey, a cloistered nun who was celebrated through the issue of a Bunnykins collectable dedicated to her memory.

  5. 5

    Note an example of the early work of the famous Royal Doulton designer, and art director from 1914, Charles J. Noke. Noke was instrumental in the production of Royal Doulton series wares between 1901 and the 1960s. Series wares were manufactured by printing a design outline on pottery to which artists added enamel colours by hand. An example of Noke's work was a miniature bowl fashioned from pierced Parian and featuring a design of purple enamel flowers (References 1). Be aware that the Noke signature on a Royal Doulton item enhances its value as a collectable.

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