Interest in Royal Doulton, a long-established name in the field of fine English dinnerware and decorative figurines, has generated collector's clubs that keep people apprised of prices, new issues, new patterns, with both old and new Royal Doulton.
What's new includes a new Celebrity Character Jug Series, which will make new collector's items of the cast-in-china visages of W.C. Fields, Mae West, and Louis Armstrong. These jugs will be available in August, and will be followed later by other jugs featuring famous U.S. entertainers.
Royal Doulton buffs can also put some of their favorite patterns on their walls, at their windows and over their furniture. A companion wallcoverings and fabrics collection has been introduced by James Seeman Studios.
This ''Royal Doulton'' collection is the first North American licensing commitment for these products in the company's 168-year history. All the themes and motifs translated to the wallcoverings and fabrics come from 12 popular Doulton dinnerware patterns, including Canton, Lisette, Michelle, Nicole, Kingswood, Mandalay, Strawberry Cream, White Nile, Yorktown, Penrose and Daisyfield.
Most of the patterns fall into the ''English country style'' category. The Yorktown pattern, which is all squares, can look quite contemporary and citified in its white-on-white colorway. Strawberry Cream, a pattern of small wild strawberries strewn over a cream-colored background, looks fresh and provincial. Double rolls of the new washable wall coverings will range from $17.95 to $19.95 . Five of the patterns are also being produced in companion fabrics.
Meanwhile, at Stoke-on-Trent, England, Royal Doulton has just launched a capital improvement program that will reequip and streamline operations in most of its 13 factories. One purpose of the multimillion effort is to increase the capacity and efficiency of the company to make middle-priced dinnerware, in the range of $52 to $76 per place setting, as well as its usual lines.