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Royal Doulton History

An Abridged History* of Royal Doulton

Royal Doulton is a classic English brand name in tableware and ceramics with a pedigree dating back to 1815, when John Doulton used his life's savings to launch a stoneware factory in Lambeth, London. That early company took the name Doulton in 1853. Today, Royal Doulton is a world-class brand in quintessential British tableware, collectable figurines, crystal, glass and giftware.

John Doulton worked with his son Henry to grow the business, and their portfolio soon extended to artistic pottery, ultimately embracing ornamental, commemorative, and tableware products. It was a success story that would go on to be made in Stoke-on-Trent. In 1877 Henry purchased a major shareholding in the factory of Pinder, Bourne and Co at Nile Street in Burslem, Staffordshire - a facility that handled tableware as well as ornaments and earthenwares.

Studio-based success prompted diversification. The business introduced new techniques and produced bone china from 1884. When Henry died in 1897 he was widely mourned, but the Doulton name for fashion and functionality was spreading apace.

The Doulton name caught the attention of the royal family itself. During 1901 the Burslem factory was granted the Royal warrant by the new king, Edward VII. Now the business could adopt a bold new logo - the British lion - and a classic brand name - Royal Doulton.

Between the World Wars, the name Royal Doulton became synonymous with the finest English china across the world. Innovation and inspiration were key to its growth, whether that be flambeware, titanian ware, or bone china. And it didn't stop there. Royal Doulton had launched its definitive HN Series of Pretty Lady figurines in 1913 and these collectables went from strength to strength. Under Charles Noke, Royal Doulton successfully moved into the market for Character Jugs too. What's more, Royal Doulton had established Bunnykins as nurseryware in 1934, moving into collectable figurines by 1939.

Royal Doulton stayed ahead of the field. In 1960 it introduced a new product - English Translucent China (ETC), which is now better known as Royal Doulton Fine China. ETC offered the excellent translucent quality of bone china, without the expense. In 1966 Royal Doulton became the first china manufacturer to receive the Queen's Award for Technical Achievement.

Royal Doulton is no longer a family business. But it has a 'family' of English brands, having merged with Minton in 1968, and gaining Royal Albert from the merger with AEP in 1971. And, in 2005, these historic brands became part of the Waterford Wedgwood group.

Today, Royal Doulton is at the forefront of retail and e-tail with a lifestyle offer that covers the classic and the contemporary, tableware and collectables, oven to tableware, and personal style. Royal Doulton is not only one of the world's oldest chinaware companies -- it's also one of the most up to date. Production has diversified globally, with some Royal Doulton items manufactured in Barlaston, England and others produced throughout Europe and Asia.

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*Excerpted from Royal Doulton Heritage at na.wwrd.com and modified by Best Crystal.