Royal Doulton Pottery

The story opens in London in the fateful year of Waterloo, when John Doulton, 22 years old, and his friend John Watts together secured an interest in a small pottery in Vauxhall Walk, Lambeth. John Doulton had been employed at the Fulham Potteries, founded by Dwight in the seventeenth century, and had won the reputation of being one of the most skilful throwers in London.

A milestone in the history of the firm was the introduction into the business in 1835 of Doulton's second son, Henry (later to become Sir Henry) at the age of 15. He learned the hard way of all beginners, but such was his aptitude that he quickly mastered all the processes and after two years was making twenty-gallon chemical vessels on the wheel. Early in his career he devised a way of driving the potter's wheel by steam ten years before any other pottery.

John Watts retired in 1854 and the firm became Doulton and Co. Henry Doulton was now in full command though the creator of the firm lived on until 1873; dying at the age of 80. Meanwhile the show of Doulton wares at the Great Exhibition included things which were a departure from the severe utility hitherto recorded. Garden vases and figures in terra cotta, 'Toby' jugs, such asFulham had made, and Hunting Jugs, were ornamental wares which shared the distinction of two medals of the First Class.

Except for these types little attempt was made to make decorated wares until about 1862. At the Great Exhibition of that year they exhibited a few well-shaped, if simple, vases in salt-glaze and, from this modest beginning the now well known 'Doulton Ware' developed. During the twenty years or so which followed, Doulton's decorated pottery grew to be a great success, so much so that, in 1877, it was decided to extend this side of the business. To this end an old established pottery in Burslem was taken over and a staff of designers, modellers and decorators engaged.

Early in the present century the Royal Doulton Pottery, Burslem, made a notable contribution to modern ceramic art by reviving the modelling of English china figures. Without imitating those of the past they have succeeded in recreating a vogue for charming decorative figures in character, as well as a wide range of animal models, including championship dogs, which, for life-likeness and truth of colouring are not to be surpassed. Each is a work of art.

Lewis Doulton resigned the Chairmanship in 1925 and was succeeded by Lewis J. E. Hooper (grandson of Sir Henry Doulton), who held this position until his death in 1955. The present Chairman, Mr. E. Basil Green, had been Managing Director since 1950.