Charlie Briggs has been an avid Royal Doulton collector for over 60 years. His first purchase was in Bermuda in 1957 when he bought Lady Charmian as a gift for his Mom. She reciprocated by buying him character jugs for birthdays and Holidays, the first was Old Salt inspired by his early navy career.So started a lifetime of collecting Royal Doulton.For a while, Charlie focused on collecting figures and got to know Peggy Davies, the foremost Royal Doulton sculptor. When she made her only trip to the USA in 1988, Charlie organized a tour of Boston and an event at his favorite restaurant where Peggy talked about her modeling process. She signed many of her figurine designs for Charlie, including his set of Femmes Fatales and his prestige figure of The Palio.
Charlie traveled several times to the UK to visit Peggy at her studio, tour the Royal Doulton factories, and see exhibitions at the Collectors Club gallery in London. He was also very active in the New England chapter of the RDICC. He traveled to Doulton conventions and events across the USA where he met Michael Doulton and many specialist dealers, who helped him build his collection.
Charlie became particularly fascinated with prototype figures, which did not go into production, and he acquired more than 50 unique models. He also enjoyed finding rare, early figures in the HN collection, such as Boy on a Crocodile, Robert Burns and Lady with Shawl. His interest in Royal Doulton expanded during the 1980s to include art pottery and he particularly loves all the fine china vases painted by the top artists at the Burslem Studio.
As he delved into Doulton’s rich history, Charlie found examples of early Lambeth products including salesman’s samples of stoneware drainpipes and even a miniature toilet. He confesses he once acquired a teacup on the Eurostar train from London to Brussels when he discovered he was drinking tea from Royal Doulton tableware.Eventually Charlie ran out of room and he decided to start sharing some of his rare treasures with other collectors. However, as soon as Charlie emptied his shelves for the Whitley’s auction, he began unpacking stored boxes so happily he is still surrounded by Royal Doulton. He continues to travel but mainly to enjoy his other great hobby playing theatre organs.-Louise Irvine