How to Tell When a Royal Doulton Mug Was Made

Written by richard may
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How to Tell When a Royal Doulton Mug Was Made
(mug image by musk from

John Doulton began producing earthenware products in 1815, and set up the Doulton company in 1853 famous for making sewer pipes and salt glaze pottery. In 1901, the company received the royal seal of approval and the company changed its name to Royal Doulton. By this time, the company was already producing figurines and novelty character mugs and jugs called Toby Jugs. Royal Doulton continued to manufacture fine chinaware until closing down in 2004. There are several ways to identify the age of Royal Doulton mugs, Toby Jugs and tableware.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Turn the Royal Doulton piece upside down and examine the base. The company used a series of marks that can be used to identify the date the piece was made, the most obvious of which is the impressed date stamp marking the year of manufacture. Not all pieces carry this stamp, but those that do are easy to date. The marks change in style throughout the years--the first stamp to contain the words “Royal Doulton” appeared in 1902, “England” was used from 1891 and “Made in England” from 1930.

  2. 2

    Inspect the signature of the artist who designed the pattern. Royal Doulton had many artists work for it over the years and by identifying their monograms imprinted on the base you can put the piece within a specific time frame. Hannah Barlow, for example, worked for Doulton between 1871 and 1913 and the monogram of her initials is a stylised “H.B.”

  3. 3

    Look at the size of the mug. Many styles of Toby Mugs and Jugs where produced at different times and they can be told apart by their size. Miniature character mugs were produced from 1922 to 1983; in 1949 the base was enlarged making the mugs slightly taller, An extra ½-inch was added to their height in 1968.

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