FINE ROYAL DOULTON antique 12" handpainted cabinet plate, signed "E. Percy", with the initials 'Ra' preceding the pattern number to indicate the design, and possibly the painting, was executed by well-known Doulton artist Robert Allen. This magnificent display plate was made for Tiffany, New York, in July 1912. A bird of paradise reminiscent of the 18C 'Chelsea Bird' fills the circular centre panel, set against a deep cobalt blue and gilt background. The plate's shoulder features three large gilded cartouches, each with a different exotic bird, and six floral panels, all individually enamelled. A gold dontil edge provides the perfect finishing touch. The foot rim is also gilded, treatment reserved for the finest pieces. In the late Edwardian era British manufacturers were at the height of their power creating luxury goods for the North American market and none better than work commissioned for fabled retailer Tiffany & Company.
This porcelain plate handles beautifully and the cobalt blue ground is even richer than in the photographs. It is in excellent condition and appears to have been carefully displayed. There is a flaw that is barely visible to the left of the bird cartouche at the top of the plate. The back is stamped with 'Royal Doulton England', along with retailer's mark, impressed date mark 7-12 and pattern Ra 7592. Measures 12"D (30cm).
ROBERT ALLEN (1858-1934) was a an important decorative artist and pattern designer for Royal Doulton in the early 20C. He joined Doulton as an apprentice painter in about 1870, quickly becoming one of its most adept and valuable decorators. Following the death of John Slater in 1914 he established his own design studio within the Nile Street factory and here he produced literally thousands of patterns for the factory's tableware. Allen retired in about 1929 and died in 1934 at the age of 76. Robert Allen's designs can be identified by the special `Ra' pattern numbers hand-written on the base of the ware. "E. Percy" is not recorded among the Doulton artists and is presumed to be a nom de plume for Robert Allen.
"Mr. Allen was responsible for many successes as a ceramic artist, and one recalls his fine work in connection with many of the marvellous pieces which brought fame, as well as many diplomas, to the Doulton organisation at the Chicago and St. Louis Exhibitions, as well as Paris in 1900, and Turin and Brussels......Anyone who is fortunate enough to possess a signed piece of Royal Doulton ware decorated by Allen will know how to appraise it, one feels sure." Obituary,Potteries Gazette and Glass Trades Review, Vol. 59, p1207 (1934)
JOHN DOULTON and his partners established a pottery and stoneware business in Lambeth, South London in 1815. The company took the name Doulton in 1853 and became Britain's leading manufacturer of industrial ceramics as well as art pottery, commemorative items and luxury tablewares, purchasing their Burslem factory in the 1870s. In 1901 King Edward VII conferred the double honour of the royal warrant and the specific right to use the title "Royal". Prizes were won at the great international exhibitions and the company earned international fame. Art director Charles C. Noke brought Doulton into the 20C and explored the talents of his brilliant artists who had grown to maturity in the Victorian period: Robert Allen, Joseph Hancock, Harry Tittensor, Edward Birks, Percy E. Curnock and others. In 2006 Royal Doulton was taken over by the Waterford Wedgwood group, which went into administration in 2009. The company is now part of WWRD Holdings Ltd.
Item ID: RL156-MA113
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