John Doulton was born in 1793 in Fulham, England. He spent his youth working as an apprentice for the Fulham Pottery Co. of London. While working at Fulham Pottery, Doulton was known as a thrower because he threw lumps of clay on a potter’s wheel and molded them into pots, jugs, pitchers, and bowls. By 1815, John Doulton had become tired of the Fulham Pottery Co. and partnered with John Watts to create a new pottery house. The new business flourished over the next few years and eventually relocated to Lambeth, England.
Although the Doulton and Watts pottery house produced pots, jugs, and pitchers, their primary focus lay in producing industrial materials. Throughout the first half of the 19th century, Doulton and Watts produced vessels that were used in storing industrial chemicals and industrial strength tiles. By 1830, John Doulton’s sons had joined the management of the factory. As the company grew, so did its interest in producing quality ceramics for the home.
Two of John Doulton’s sons, Henry and Frederick, left Doulton and Watts to open Henry Doulton and Co. Henry’s desire was to employ his skills as a potter in producing other industrial materials, such as pipes. In 1847, John Doulton’s oldest son, John Doulton, Jr., also left the Lambeth factory to open his own ceramics mill. Turmoil in the European and American financial markets forced the three firms, Doulton and Watts, Henry Doulton and Co., and John Doulton, Jr., to dissolve. In 1853, three firms regrouped as Doulton and Co.
John Doulton died in 1873, the company continued to grow and expand. Throughout the second half of the 19th century, the company continued producing industrial materials as well as household ceramics. Queen Victoria knighted Henry Doulton in 1887. In 1901, King Edward VII conferred upon Doulton and Co. the honor of a Royal Warrant. Throughout the past century, the company had produced ceramic vessels capable of holding porous stones that filtered bacteria, contaminants, and pollution out of drinking water. The rise of the industrial age had polluted the River Thames, London’s primary source of drinking water. The water purifier that Doulton and Co. produced was easily adapted to the needs of the Royal Family, British Military, and hospitals throughout England.
After the Royal Warrant was issued, Doulton and Co. became Royal Doulton. The company began producing many collectible items including character jugs and figurines. Henry Doulton realized that there was a growing demand for mass produced figurines in the Edwardian lady’s home. Royal Doulton began to invest its resources in skillful art directors and sculptors. By 1910, Royal Doulton had introduced 40 Royal Doulton figurines into the market. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the company continued to introduce lines of miniature and full scale Royal Doulton figurines.
After World War II, the Royal Doulton china company decided that the company’s primary focus would be tableware and reduced its presence in industrial materials market. Since WWII, Royal Doulton has acquired Minton and Royal Albert and started marketing a line of Royal Doulton crystal products. Throughout its history, the Royal Doulton china company has remained committed to creating beautiful tableware products and exquisite Royal Doulton figurines. The company’s most popular patterns, Carlyle, Coronet, English Renaissance, and Juliet are available through Replacements, Ltd. If your are interested in learning more about Royal Doulton’s patterns, then click here to view Replacements extensive list of active and discontinued Royal Doulton patterns.