Cap­ti­vat­ing fig­ures at rare ce­ram­ics show

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THE world’s largest col­lec­tion of Royal Doul­ton fig­urines has been ac­quired by Pas­coe Ce­ram­ics of Mi­ami, Florida, in the US and many of the rarest pieces will be on show and for sale for the first time at the Ce­ramic Art & Col­lectibles Ex­hi­bi­tion to be held at the South­ern Sun Grayston, in Jo­han­nes­burg, this week­end.

This ex­cep­tional fig­urine col­lec­tion was be­gun in the early 1980s by an Amer­i­can lady who be­came so pas­sion­ate about Royal Doul­ton that she wanted to find ev­ery sin­gle fig­ure de­sign that the English china com­pany made from the 1890s on­wards. Thanks to spe­cial­ist deal­ers like Ed Pas­coe, she col­lected more than 3 000 fig­urines be­fore she passed away ear­lier this year. Her grand­daugh­ter de­cided to sell the en­tire col­lec­tion back to Ed Pas­coe and he has been re­united with hundreds of rare pieces that he has not han­dled for over 30 years.

Many of the col­lec­tor’s rarest dis­cov­er­ies were il­lus­trated in the clas­sic ref­er­ence books on Royal Doul­ton Fig­ures, re­vised in the 1980s and 1990s by Louise Irvine, and ex­am­ples have not ap­peared on the mar­ket since. South African col­lec­tors will be ex­cited to see all the fig­urines that Pas­coe is bring­ing to Jo­han­nes­burg as many have never been seen in this coun­try be­fore.

There are lots of keen Royal Doul­ton col­lec­tors in South Africa with a thriv­ing club hold­ing reg­u­lar meet­ings in Gaut­eng and KwaZulu-Na­tal. One Dur­ban col­lec­tor is fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of the Amer­i­can lady, hav­ing ac­quired more than 1 000 fig­urines to date.

Royal Doul­ton launched their fa­mous HN col­lec­tion of fig­urines in 1913 and the first de­sign of a coy lit­tle child in a night­gown was named Dar­ling by Queen Mary, who be­came the first Royal col­lec­tor. HN stands for Harry Nixon who was in charge of the fig­ure­paint­ing depart­ment in the early years and is­sued HN pat­tern numbers for each new style.

Some pop­u­lar fig­urines were made in up to 15 dif­fer­ent colours and avid col­lec­tors seek out the most elu­sive de­signs which had lim­ited pro­duc­tion.

Dur­ing the 1920s Royal Doul­ton fig­urines fol­lowed the fash­ions of the day with jazz age partygoers dressed as pier­rots, clowns and but­ter­flies. These Art Deco de­signs are par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar with to­day’s col­lec­tors and com­pe­ti­tion is stiff at auc­tions and spe­cial­ist exhibitions. Lim­ited edi­tion and pres­tige de­signs also have a huge col­lec­tor fol­low­ing around the world and some spec­tac­u­lar pieces, such as the Charge of the Light Bri­gade and Princess Badoura, are among the high­lights of the forth­com­ing Pas­coe ex­hi­bi­tion.

Many new­com­ers to the world of Royal Doul­ton start with the com­pany’s newer fig­urines. For ex­am­ple, many South African col­lec­tors are ea­gerly await­ing the ar­rival of the com­mem­o­ra­tive fig­urine de­pict­ing Cather­ine on the Royal Wed­ding Day which will be com­ing soon. While en­joy­ing an ab­sorb­ing new hobby and adding beauty and el­e­gance to their homes, fig­urine col­lec­tors can leave a legacy for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, just as the Amer­i­can col­lec­tor has done.

Dis­cover more about Royal Doul­ton fig­urines at the Pas­coe Ce­ram­ics event at the South­ern Sun Grayston to­mor­row and Sun­day. Learn about the his­tory and col­lectabil­ity of fig­urines from the in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed Bri­tish author, Louise Irvine.

You will also be able to meet Ed Pas­coe, the world’s largest spe­cial­ist dealer, from Mi­ami, and add to your col­lec­tions at this ex­cep­tional ex­hi­bi­tion.

Three rare early Royal Doul­ton fig­ures.

The most ex­pen­sive Royal Doul­ton fig­ure on the show: Princess Badoura. A rare Royal Doul­ton Clown fig­ure.

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