Pied Piper – My Royal Doulton Character Jug For September 2013

Pied Piper Prototype

The Pied Piper was one of the very first Royal Doulton character jugs I purchased on an on-line auction, the main attraction for me was firstly his character filled face and secondly the pipe and rats handle.  I mean just look at that face, granted, I’m not sure that I would have followed him into the great unknown as a child, but as an adult, I find his character filled face very intriguing.

This Royal Doulton character jug was designed by Geoff Blower and was issued in 3 sizes:

– D6403   Large   1954 – 1981

– D6462   Small   1957 – 1981

– D6514   Mini   1960 – 1981

The original prototype was modelled with only 1 rat on the handle and in a different colourway, as above, but was adapted to the more familiar version featured below:

Pied Piper 1

A poem by Robert Browning, The Pied Piper Of Hamelin is based on an old legend from a town in Brunswick.  The town is crawling with rats, and the mayor and city elders decide to enlist the services of a stranger to rid them of the vermin for a fee of one thousand guilders.  The stranger earns his fee by playing his pipe so beautifully that the rats follow the music and drown in the River Weser.  The piper’s fee however goes unpaid, so the strange piper plays again, but this time all the children of the town are enchanted by his beautiful music and they follow him never to be seen again.

Pied Piper 2

For more on Royal Doulton please visit royaldoultonguide.com


McCallum, My Lucky Royal Doulton Find – What Is Yours?

The McCallum Character JugAs a very keen Royal Doulton character jug collector, I have spent too many hours to mention reading everything and anything to do with the subject.   And like every other addicted collector, spend many, many, many hours checking various on-line auctions, local auction houses, charity shops, on-line classifieds, fairs – everywhere and anywhere in fact, in search of that ‘little gem’  to add to my collection.

I am tempted to start the story of how I came to own the Royal Doulton McCallum character jug with the famous ‘picture the scene’, because it really was one of those moments in my collecting life.

Working for myself allows me the luxury of dividing my day up into segments so I can focus equally on all the various things I need to get done on any given day.  So once the emails have been checked and responded to, I move onto my ‘search segment’, which in a nutshell is me looking at various on-line sites that sell vintage Royal Doulton pieces.  It was while doing one of these searches that I came across an item advertised as ‘Royal Doulton Jug “Them Callum”, with a very strange looking thumbnail image alongside the text.  I was instantly intrigued and decided to have a closer look at the other images posted, the closer I looked the more noise the penny made as it dropped.  Unless my eyes were deceiving me, this was the very rare large McCallum character jug made by Royal Doulton for D. & J. McCallum Distillers of Edinburgh, Scotland, that I had read about in Jocelyn Lukins’s, Collecting Royal Doulton Character & Toby Jugs.  

To quote from the book:

 ‘1000 – 1500 copies in Kingsware Glaze c. 1910.  A white version by Royal Doulton exists made from a slightly different mould…’

So I had established that this was indeed the white version of Royal Doulton’s McCallum and although the condition of the jug was not perfect, it was still a very rare item of porcelain that had very likely spent many of it’s 100 years surviving the less than careful sober wear and tear that goes along with being a water jug standing on the bar of the local pub.  Even with the damage, the very low starting bid on the jug lead me to believe that the seller wasn’t aware of just how rare this jug is.  The auction had a week to run and I noticed the jug had had no bids yet, which is not that unusual, some bidders like to wait until an item is about to close to place their bids and so a mad flourish of bids at the close of an auction is often par for the course with on-line auctions.  I of course was much too excited to hold back, I immediately typed in my opening bid and set my limit, checking in daily and often hourly to see if I had been outbid and also on how many people had viewed the jug.  Hoping that it hadn’t caught the attention of any of the serious collectors with much bigger budgets than I have – needless to say, it was a very long week!  But at the end of it all, I was the only bidder and was lucky enough to purchase the much sought after white version McCallum by Royal Doulton at the starting bid amount that was well within even my measly budget.  To say I was thrilled when the auction eventually closed would without a shadow of a doubt be the understatement of the century!!!!!

Although the only jug in my collection with damage and also the plainest least decorated, the McCallum stands out in terms of its age and rarity.  And personally I have to admit that I have no intention of restoring the McCallum to its straight out of the Doulton factory perfection as I believe its imperfections are part of its story and that for now this McCallum story ends with me makes the jug perfect to me.

For more on Royal Doulton please visit http://www.royaldoultonguide.com

Johnny Appleseed – My Royal Doulton Character Jug Of The Month – June 2013

Johnny Appleseed

Royal Doulton Character Jug – Johnny Appleseed – D6372
Designed by Harry Fenton
Issued from 1953 – 1969


The Legend Of Johnny Appleseed from Wikipedia:

Johnny Appleseed was born John Chapman in Leominster, Massachusetts in 1774.  He was was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, including the northern counties of present day West Virginia. He became an American folk hero while still alive, due to his kindhearted, generous ways, his leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples. He was also a missionary for The New Church (Swedenborgian).

The popular image is of Johnny Appleseed randomly spreading apple seeds everywhere he went. In fact, he planted nurseries rather than orchards, erected fences around them to protect them from livestock, left the nurseries in the care of a neighbour who sold trees on shares, and returned every year or two to tend the nursery. Although apples grown from seed are rarely sweet or tasty, apple orchards with sour apples were popular among the settlers because apples were mostly used for producing hard cider and apple jack.  In some periods of the settlement of the Midwest, settlers were required by law to plant orchards of apples and pears in order to uphold the right to the claimed land.  So Johnny Appleseed planted orchards that made for popular real estate on the frontier.  His first nursery was planted on the bank of Brokenstraw Creek, South of Warren, Pennsylvania. Next, he seems to have moved to Venango County along the shore of French Creek, but many of these nurseries were located in the Mohican area of north-central Ohio. This area included the towns of Mansfield, Lucas, Perrysville, and Loudonville.


The First Royal Doulton Character Jug Modelled On An Actual Person – John Peel

John Peel was the first person to be immortalised in the form of a Royal Doulton character jug.  Designed by Harry Fenton, issued in 4 sizes from 1936 to 1960.

John Peel was a famous huntsman who for 40 years hunted with a pack of hounds on the fells of Cumbria in North-East England, as the slopes were too steep for horses, the hunt was often carried out on foot.  John Peel enjoyed a drink and each kill was celebrated by the hunting party at the nearest hostelry.

John Peel 1

 There was also a song written by John Graves about the famous huntsman:

‘D’ye ken John Peel with his coat so grey?

D’ye ken John Peel at the break of day?

D’ye ken John Peel when he’s far, far away

With his hounds and his horn in the morning?’

John Peel 2

 It is also believed that this is how the Police earned the nickname ‘The Peelers’

It seems that based on the song, John Peel’s coat was grey so it’s a bit of a mystery as to why Harry Fenton chose to portray him in a red coat . . .

For more on Royal Doulton visit royaldoultonguide.com

John Wayne – My Royal Doulton Character Jug Of The Month – May 2013

The John Wayne character jug was issued in 2007 by Royal Doulton as the seventeenth character jug of the year.

Designed by Tim Potts and released in a limited edition of 1000.  I was lucky enough to be gifted the John Wayne Royal Doulton Character Jug for my birthday a couple of days ago and if I’m honest, I would have to say that he has quickly become my new favourite favourite.  His handle is made up of his hand holding on to his double-barrel shotgun in the front with a wagon and in a desert scene at the back and finally there’s a film strip banner draped around the top of the handle.  In terms of his likeness, the artist has truly captured the essence of the quintessential cowboy, John Wayne, ‘The Duke’, as my late father called him.  As I read his Royal Doulton certficate of authenticity, I found that John Wayne, shared the same birthday day as my father, which I never knew and now just ensures that this character jug will forever be at the top of my list of favourite favourites.

John Wayne

From the certificate of authenticity:

‘John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison on 26 May 1907 in Winterset, Iowa.

John Wayne’s career  started at an early age, with him acting and working as a member of the stage crew for various school productions.  During his time at college, John started working for then then Fox Film Corporation, in the prop department as a member of the ‘swing gang’ who moved furniture between sets.  John Wayne worked as an extra in several films and, whilst working at Fox, he met director John Ford.  Ford saw something in Wayne and cast him in a small role in ‘Hangman’s House’ (1928).  From then on, John Wayne acted in several small parts for John Ford.

John Wayne’s first important role came in 1930 in the film, ‘The Big Trail’.  Throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s, John Wayne took many roles, not only westerns, but also as a boxer, a pilot and a football player.  At the end of the 1930’s, John Wayne’s breakthrough role came when he was cast as the Ringo Kid in ‘Stagecoach’ (1939).

From then on, John Wayne became an iconic name in the movie industry.  John Wayne went on to star in many films portraying various characters such as cowboys, civil war officers and World War II heroes.  The award-winning actor became one of the most loved people in the American film industry.’

To see a list of all the Royal Doulton Character Jugs Of The Year, visit my website royaldoultonguide.com

Royal Doulton Character Jug Prototypes – Part 2

The 1970’s saw many new modellers joining Royal Doulton and inevitably some of their early work was rejected. In 1975 Robert Tabbenor’s, Uncle Tom Cobbleigh was rejected and in 1977, Peter Gee’s Jester toby was another that did not get approval to go into production. A new addition to the Williamsburg range, Cabinet Make Of Williamsburg, was advertised in 1981, but was never released as it was decided to discontinue the range. However, in 1995 it did finally join the range as it was released at the RDICC (Royal Doulton International Collectors Club) convention in Williamsburg to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the club.

Bill Harper’s produced some truly remarkable designs, but he too had a few rejected along the way. His first character jug of a pirate was rejected in 1976 and in 1986 his portrait of Pierre Trudeau also fell by the wayside as the Canadian Prime Minister was no longer in office when the character jug was ready for release. His Elvis prototype produced for the celebrity range was also rejected by his estate and there were many other from this range that unfortunately met with the same fate. A Marilyn Monroe prototype found its way into the marketplace in 1992 and was sold at auction for $17,500.  The Marilyn Monroe prototype I would have to say is the ultimate dream jug for this collector.


In the late 1980’s a few more character jug prototypes never made it beyond this point, Robin Hood, by Eric Griffiths, Uncle Sam, by Harry Sales and a Prison Warder by Stanley Taylor and I’m sure there were a lot more that will at some point find their way to market in years to come.

Visit my website http://www.royaldoultonguide.com for more about character jugs and Royal Doulton.

Royal Doulton Character Jug Prototypes – Part 1

A prototype character jug are the samples taken from the master mould, often described as pilots or trials.  No more than two or three jugs are cast at this early stage, any more than that would wear down the detail on the mast mould.  They are then decorated in different manners with varying decorative elements.  The prototype that is eventually approved goes into production with many moulds then made, but the rejected jug only ever remains in the prototype form.

In the 1920’s Charles Noke designed a toby jug of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, but then had misgivings about portraying the strict abstainer as a toby jug.  The project was therefore abandoned, he gave one prototype to the decorator Ted Eley and another was presented to the Museum of the Wesley Church in Tasmania.

In the 1930’s it seems that the majority of jugs modelled did go into production, but the second world war interrupted several plans.  The Royal Doulton archives make reference to an Old Scrooge jug and another jug referred to as Red Wing, but no illustrations of either have been found.  The New Zealand Maori jug was modelled by Harry Fenton and was approved in 1939, but for reasons unknown it did not go into the general range.  A few examples have survived and can be found in private collections, the value of which runs into tens of thousands of Pounds.  Buffalo Bill also modelled by Harry Fenton, is another jug dating from the war years, no records of which exist today.

The 1950’s saw only two character jugs not making it into production, The Scarlet Pimpernell by George which appeared on the market in 1987.  Gary Sharpe’s Alice In Wonderland was also rejected in 1959 because of copyright restrictions, no examples have resurfaced.

The 1960’s saw a rejected Village Blacksmith rescued from a Royal Doulton rubbish skip by a factory worker, his family sold it in 1993 for thousands of Pounds.  It was thought to be one of Max Henk’s designs, it was given the pattern number D6549 in 1961, which makes it even more strange that it was never launched at all.

To be continued . . .