Royal Doulton

Six exquisite stamps and a spectacular miniature sheet were released to commemorate the 1992-93 CourierPost Royal Doulton Ceramics Exhibition - the first major Royal Doulton exhibition ever held in New Zealand. Significantly, 80% of the more than 750 pieces in the Exhibition came from family collections within the country itself. Royal Doulton enthusiasts are plentiful in New Zealand. In fact, there would be few homes that would not have at least one Doulton piece in use, or on display in a china cabinet or mantelpiece.

Issue information

In 1815, the year of Waterloo, John Doulton invested his life savings of 100 pounds in a small riverside pottery in Lambeth, South London. The pottery made plain, everyday stoneware items such as candle sticks, and bottles for ink, beer and blacking. When John’s son Henry joined the firm, things changed. Henry brought with him a dynamism and entrepreneurial flair which transformed the fortunes of the little known pottery and made the Doulton name famous throughout the world.

Henry’s first great success was in recognising the revolutionary shift towards new standards of sanitation. In 1846 his Lambeth factory became the first in the world to produce stoneware drainpipes, conduits and related wares. In the 1860’s he turned his attention to Art Pottery. Students from the Lambeth School of Art were employed to design and decorate stoneware vases and other decorative items for the home. By the 1880’s the studio employed over 2490 women and 20 men to paint and model its wares. Cooperation on this scale between art and industry had never been seen before.

Doulton artists were exceptionally innovative and produced an unprecedented variety of saltglazed stoneware. With the purchase of the Burslem pottery in Staffordshire the firm continued to expand both its range and techniques in earthenware and bone china. Henry was eventually knighted and, in 1901, the firm was granted a Royal Warrant. Today Royal Doulton continues to produce an enormous range of high quality items from bathroom fittings, to table and nurseryware, to highly prized figurines and character jugs.

Character Jug - Old Charley 1934 - 45c
One of a range of character jugs first produced at Burslem in 1934. The character jug, featuring only head and shoulders, was an original Doulton development of the traditional full figure Toby jugs which dated from the 18th century.

Bunnykins Plate ‘The Proposal’ - 80c
The range of children’s ware most commonly associated with Royal Doulton is the perennially popular Bunnykins series, first introduced in the 1930s. The whimsical rabbit family was the creation of Barbara Vernon who passed most of her life in a convent. Since her original drawings, over 150 designs have appeared.

'Maori Art' Tea Ware 1907 - 90c
Royal Doulton have produced several ceramic series on New Zealand themes. They are 'Kia Ora' stoneware (1907); 'Maori Art' tea ware (1907); Souvenir wares, and kiwi teapots and plates for the Silver Jubilee of Canterbury (1900); the death of Richard John Seddon (1906), and the New Zealand International Exhibition in Christchurch (1906).

Handpainted Plate ‘Ophelia' - $1.00
By George White 1903. This Burslem plate is an example of the extremely high standard of Royal Doulton ceramics which made their way to New Zealand in the early part of the century. They were snapped up by collectors eager for quality and artistic innovation.

Burslem Figurine ‘St George’ 1950 - $1.50
In the early 1890s Charles Noke began experimenting at Burslem with figurines, mainly of characters from Shakespeare. Since then, many outstanding sculptors have helped to develop the vast range of Royal Doulton figures still in production today.

Saltglazed Stoneware Vase - $1.80
By Eliza Simmance c. 1892. Doulton was ahead of its time in using women as artists and designers. The vase is an outstanding example of late Victorian art pottery, which aimed deliberately to be creative or artistic as opposed to merely utilitarian.

Miniature Sheet - $1.80
Incorporating the $1.80 stamp depicting Saltglazed Stoneware Vase.

Technical information

Date of Issue: 20 January 1993
Designer: Brand New Design, Wellington NZ
Printer: Leigh-Mardon, Australia
Stamp Size: 35mm x 39.5mm; Miniature Sheet : 124mm x 100mm
Sheet Size: 50 stamps per sheet; Miniature Sheet of one stamp
Process: Lithography
Perforation Gauge: 13.25
Paper Type: Peterborough Paper Convertors, red phosphor coated, unwatermarked