Histories of UK potters and pottery manufacturers

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Last updated: 1st August 2011

DATING DOULTON - BACKSTAMPS

Virtually all Doulton tableware has a black printed Doulton ‘mark’ or ‘backstamp’ applied to the underside of the piece. The mark was varied from time to time and the table below includes the major marks that appear on tableware manufactured at the Doulton (Burslem) factory (Series Ware and the Lambeth Stonewares often have special marks).

The Doulton tableware marks are below the glaze (as is the decoration in most cases). It could thus have been applied at any time between the first, biscuit, firing of the ware and the final step of application of the glaze. Most probably the mark was applied at the time of decoration when each piece would have been handled individually to apply the painted or transfer printed pattern. Specific information is lacking on this point.

 

1901-1922 (and 1927-c. 1936)

This is the ‘standard’ Doulton mark on Burslem earthenware and bone china used from 1901 to 1922 and from 1928 to c. 1936.

The well recognised ‘standard’ Doulton mark or backstamp is that including the ‘lion, crown and roundel’ introduced in 1901 and used in various forms to the 1990s. From 1901 to 1922 the standard mark appears with the words ‘Royal Doulton’ and ‘England’. The new mark and use of the name ‘Royal Doulton’ as opposed to ‘Doulton’ signify the grant of a Royal Warrant to Henry Doulton by King Edward VII in 1901.

 

1922-1927

From 1922 or 1923 until the end ( presumably) of 1927 tableware appears bearing a mark that lacks the traditional crown. The reason for the introduction and use of this new mark is not known although it may have been nothing more complex than the need for a smaller mark to fit smaller wares. The mark appears not to have been used exclusively as there are examples of the earlier ‘standard’ Doulton mark that can be unambiguously dated to the same period.

1927 - c.1936

The earlier ‘standard’ mark with lion, crown and Doulton roundel was ‘reintroduced’ from 1928, but was supplemented by a date number related to the year of production. A prominent ‘1’ signifies 1928 and the numbering continue to ‘30’ in 1957.  The simple rule is that adding 1927 to the number give the year of production. This second use of the ‘standard’ mark is believed to have continued until about 1936.

 

C.1930 - c.2000

In about 1930 a new form of the ‘standard’ Doulton mark was introduced bearing the words ‘Made in England ‘ above the Royal Doulton name and, in various forms, this mark was used until recent times. The date numbers referred to above also accompany this mark and for the period from about 1930 to 1936 examples of both marks can be found.

C.2000 on

A totally new Doulton mark of a lion’s head has been used on current-day Doulton tableware. Its date of introduction is uncertain, but may be as late as 1993 when the Pearson Group floated Royal Doulton plc as an independent company.

1882-1901

Between 1882 and 1901 various Pinder, Bourne & Co. and Doulton marks appear on the earthenware and bone china (from c. 1884) produced at the Niles St factory. The most common Doulton mark is circular with the central four interlocking ‘D’ symbols that continued in later marks.

 

A similar device with a crown above, was used from 1886 to mark the appointment of Doulton as potters to  His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII, following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.

 

The word ‘England’ may appear below both of these marks from  1891 to 1901