The Charlton Standard Series

The default price guides for any serious collector of Royal Doulton. The series includes separate books for Figurines, Bunnykin/Collectables, Animals and Jugs. They’re priced in and around the £25.00 mark and provide a very comprehensive guide including background of each piece, years issued, variations, colourways and pricing in both US and Canadian Dollars and also in Pounds Sterling, (although these tend to be a little high in the current market). The guides tend to be between 450 and 500 pages in length and almost every item features a usually black and white photograph. All of the guides include about 30 pages of colour photographs. The well laid out indexes at the back of the books make it easy to search for an item by name, model number or series and  enable collectors to quickly identify the pieces they need to complete their collections. The pricing however seems to be somewhat unrealistically high and more accurately reflects the price you would expect to pay in an antiques store rather than at an auction house or online source such as eBay. As a rule of thumb I tend to reduce any valuation given by about a third to get closer to a real world pricing. All in all however these guides remain the best paper based source for pricing and information over the entire Doulton and Beswick range.

Royal Doulton & Beswick Cartoon Classics & other Character Figures

This certainly one of the most fun Royal Doulton Guides that I have on my book shelves. It is no longer in print and can often fetch a fairly high price. It was originally published for £25.00 and features full colour photography throughout it’s 195 pages. There are sections covering Winnie the Pooh, Walt Disney, Alice in Wonderland, Lord of the Rings, Rupert Bear, Tom & Jerry, Flintstones, The Snowman, Wizard of Oz, Thunderbirds and a host of other children’s classics which have all made it out of the Doulton and Beswick factories. The book doesn’t offer a guide to pricing but it does categorise the items into rarity ranging from A (common) through to F (very hard to find). There is also a very interesting section focusing on the designers and modelers both past and recent with a short bio on each of them. A small chapter is dedicated to the process of creating a collectable piece, with photographs and text highlighting the various stages that a ceramic collectible goes through, from being an idea in a designer’s head to a finished product in our homes. The text of the book tends to focus on the history of the cartoon characters themselves, and in that sense it reads more like a guide to cartoons than to Royal Doulton and Beswick. That being said, the hundreds of full colour pictures of the cartoon figurines make it a great book to while away a rainy Sunday afternoon.

A Century of Royal Doulton Character & Toby Jugs

This book is unmatched by any other book on the subject of Doulton Jugs and consists of 456 A4 size pages in gorgeous full colour. Without a doubt it contains the most comprehensive photographic record of Character & Toby Jugs produced by Royal Doulton ever published. As I was flicking through it when I first got it, I was amazed by how many prototype jugs, which I had never seen before were featured in its pages. The book is huge and very heavy (therefore might involve a high postage cost if bought from the wrong vendor). It is co-written by Steve Mullins, the owner of the American Toby Jug Museum, which many of you may know contains over 6500 jugs, and as a result the book’s photographers were able to gain access to a wide range of jugs that had never before been captured and published in printed format. The Jugs are ordered alphabetically in the book and generally half a page is dedicated to every jug with a colour picture of each (in all sizes) and usually an additional more detailed shot of the handle. Where derivatives or colour variations exist a separate photograph is provided of each of these. The back-stamps of each jug are also shown in all variations. On top of the visual eye-candy there is a short history of each of the characters that the jugs were based on. Where appropriate, interesting anecdotes are provided about why particular jugs did or didn’t make it into production, and the jug’s height, modeller and years of production are given. There is a section of drawings from the Royal Doulton Archives of jugs that no surviving prototype exists for, and also several pages of clay unpainted prototype jugs. Although the book is very expensive, it has provided me with hours upon hours of pleasure just flicking through and dreaming!

Royal Doulton Character & Toby Jugs

Originally produced in 1979 by Royal Doulton’s own publishing department, this book is somewhat dated at this point, and pales now in comparison to the more recently produced century of doulton jugs book above. However its A4 size format allows for a massive colour photograph of every jug taking up 2/3 of the real estate of each of the pages. This means that you get a really clear detail of the jugs. There is a small section at the back on derivatives, and like the “Century” book, there is a paragraph or two outlining the history of all the characters portrayed. It’s writer Desmond Eyles was the leading author of all things Royal Doulton for over 20 years with a huge back catalogue of Doulton Books to his credit, and his considerable knowledge on the subject is made very clear in his 30 page “Historical Introduction” to Royal Doulton and the jugs it produced. In some ways this is the most interesting part of the book for me. It contains 164 pages including introduction, index and a very brief guide on dating jugs. I probably wouldn’t have this on my essential Doulton reading list, but if you are able to pick up a copy for a few pounds it’s a nice book to have in your collection and its historical introduction makes interesting reading. I got mine for £4.00 on eBay.

The Collecting Royal Doulton Series

These handy A5 sized hard-backed books written by Jocelyn Lukins cover a range of Doulton Products. The two pictured are “Collecting Royal Doulton Character & Toby Jugs” and “Collecting Doulton Animals” but there are also books covering Doulton Kingsware, Doulton Figurines and a general book on Collecting Doulton. According to the back of the character jug book, it number is number 10 in a series, but I’m not too sure what other books came before it. “Animals” book features mostly black and white photography whilst the “Jugs” book is predominantly in colour. They were produced in the early 1990s and in the case of the Jugs book feature products made up until 1993. What sets these books apart from the others featured above is their portability and friendly style of writing. They certainly are not the most comprehensive guides on their subjects especially when compared with the Charlton Press books, but with approximately 150 - 170 pages in each one they will be of some interest to collectors if they can be obtained cheaply.

Supplement To A Century of Royal Doulton Character & Toby Jugs

Five years after the printing of the original bible of all things Royal Doulton Character and Toby Jug related, the original three writers/compilers revisit the subject in light of newly discovered prototypes and colourways and a few newly produced jugs. The focus of this 64 page supplement is very clearly on the character jug and not the toby. It is full colour throughout and contains the 14 production jugs made after 2007, 37 newly discovered and prototypes and 5 new derivative protypes. A particular treat to see are the never produced Great Film Stars Collection (which is breathtaking!) and the similarly fated Revolutionaries Collection, one which did not happen due to licensing issues and one which had only reached prototype stage when Royal Doulton went into receivership. For those who own the orginal book, this is a highly recommended addition. Although I quickly noticed one error made (getting the production and prototype versions of the Quasimodo jug mixed up) in the book’s descriptions, and there appears to be a few of the less reputable eBay post factory “colourways” displayed.  But I believe the rest of the book to be accurate. The format replicates that of the main book, with half a page dedicated for each primary jug. Colourways on the other hand are presented in a gallery format with 6 or more jugs to a page. Pictures are for the most part clear and of a high quality.

£22.00 - £26.00

The Charlton Press

Jean Dale & Louise Irvine


UK International Ceramics

Louise Irvine


Schiffer Publishing Ltd

Stephen Mullens, David

Fastenau & Louise Irvine


Royal Doulton Tableware Ltd

Desmond Eyles

£12.00 - £18.00

Venta Books

Jocelyn Lukins


Alpha Graphics (USA)

Stephen Mullens, David

Fastenau & Louise Irvine