Royal Doulton is nearly 200 years old now and it’s marvelous to have that sort of heritage and longevity in a company,” says Michael Doulton, fifth-generation officer of his family’s business ” Royal Doulton of England.
While he appreciates Royal Doulton’s history, Doulton enjoys a deep understanding of what keeps the company on top. “You have to be producing the things that people want today,” he asserts. He believes the reason why collectors and tableware buyers appreciate Royal Doulton so much is the firm’s willingness to use technology where appropriate, while retaining the traditional arts that set its products apart.
The Royal Doulton product line includes pieces to charm everyone from very young collectors to the most sophisticated art aficionados. “We start off with Bunnykins and Beatrix Potter,” Doulton explains, and that gets the younger children interested. Boys and girls often are given a figure or character jug for a present, and thus, by the time they become adults, they appreciate Royal Doulton’s works both for their art quality and their investment value. We don’t manufacture pieces as investments, but often within a decade or two our pieces do go up in market price quite a bit.”
Royal Doulton Heritage
For six generations, the name “Doulton” has been renowned throughout the world as the source of elegant and innovative ceramic arts. It was 1815 when John Doulton was invited to become a partner in a saltglazed stoneware business. By 1826, Doulton and Watts was one of the most significant potteries in South London. John’s son Henry then became a master potter and later in life focused attention on an art studio. By 1884 Doulton’s designers were making and decorating elegant bone china in their Burlsem factory. And in 1887, Henry became the first potter ever granted the distinguished title of “Sir.”
Then in 1901, Sir Henry’s son, Henry Lewis Doulton, received the greatest honor ever granted the Doulton company. He accepted the Royal Warrant of King Edward VII on behalf of what was now to be called Royal Doulton.
After periods of leadership by Ronald Duneau Doulton and Lewis John Eric Hooper, Michael Doulton’s father Orrok Sherwood Doulton, joined the company in 1935. Under his direction, Royal Doulton twice won the Queen’s Award for Industry.
Nowadays, the Royal Doulton product range includes a diverse array of dinnerware, crystal, and giftware, linking classic processes with contemporary tastes. In addition to its Royal Doulton brand, the company also features patterns under the names of Royal Albert, Royal Crown Derby, and Minton.
Collectors enjoy the several clubs available to them through Royal Doulton, including the Royal Doulton International Collector’s Club, Royal Crown Derby Collector’s Guild, and Caithness Collector’s Club.
While his company is steeped in significant history, Doulton is adamant that the firm remains on the “cutting edge.” He and his daughter are frequent guests in the Royal Doulton chat rooms, where collectors from all over the world meet online.
When asked to look into the future, Doulton maintains his willingness to adapt with the times. “If we see something changing in our field, we’ll look at it. We are always seeking new interests and positive changes in our products. Normally, we are ahead of the pack because of our design and concepts ” and because we are out in the field to get good feedback!”