During my 35 years as Royal Doulton Brand Ambassador, I have travelled the world meeting collectors and promoting the beautiful ceramic collections the company produces.
The Royal Doulton story began in 1815, the same year as the battle of Waterloo. John Doulton, my great, great, great grandfather was asked by Martha Jones to join her small pottery on the banks of the River Thames in London. Martha, a widow, needed a business
partner to join herself and her foreman John Watts. John Doulton, already a talented potter, was perfect for the job. He invested his life savings of £100 into the business and the Doulton & Watts pottery was born.
The factory specialized in manufacturing salt-glaze and stoneware ceramics, stone jars, bottles and flasks. In 1835 Henry Doulton, John Doulton’s son, joined the firm and it flourished due to Henry’s role in the ‘sanitary revolution’ – pioneering the general use of stoneware drain pipes and water filters to improve living conditions. An innovator of his day, Henry came up with several ingenious ways of engineering and manufacturing the pipes and other stoneware items that made Doulton & Watts world-class experts in the field.
In 1854 John Watts retired from the business and the name of the company was changed to Doulton & Company. In 1860 the business diversified further, after Henry was persuaded to work with pupils from the neighboring Lambeth School of Art by his friend John Sparkes. This move would form the company we know and love today.
What followed was a long and fruitful relationship, resulting in the employment of many of the school’s art graduates including George Tinworth and Hannah Barlow. The pieces they created at Doulton & Company were the polar opposite of the industrial pieces the firm had previously been known for. They were delicately modeled, brightly colored, exquisitely decorated and won hearts all over the globe.
Today, the Prestige pieces created to celebrate 200 years of Royal Doulton are a testament to just that. Featuring the artistic endeavors of sculptors and master painters, each of the pieces depicts a significant historic event from 1815. The Duke of Wellington HN5745, King George III HN5746 and The Lion’s Mound HN5747 are beautiful pieces that I’m incredibly proud of and they are sure to become heirlooms of the future. The company really does have an intriguing history and
I’m confident that it also has a long and exciting future ahead. Here’s to the next 200 years!