In the early 1930s Royal Worcester was on the brink of ruin. But a rescue package was at hand and Charles Dyson Perrins bought the company, supplementing the worker’s wages out of his own pocket until the business was out of danger. A new group of modellers– nearly all of them women – were brought in to enliven Royal Worcester’s range. One of the Directors of Royal Worcester was staying with Freda’s cousin and on seeing examples of Freda’s work he asked her to make something to submit to Worcester. Her first four models of children were an immediate success and led to a long and fruitful partnership.
It was Freda’s children that really saved the day and brought Royal Worcester into the market of affordable figurines. A little girl in a long dress called ‘Grandmother’s Dress’ and her partner ‘Boy with a Parakeet’ were so enduringly popular that many factory workers still claim that, in the tricky years of the 1950s, this girl and boy almost single-handedly kept the factory open.
Freda designed over 100 models, most of which were very popular. Her figures were modelled from children who used to play in the garden of her home in Kent that she shared with her elder sister Dorothy. In later years the two sisters moved to a cottage near Falmouth. Freda died in 1972.
THE MONTHS OF THE YEAR
A series of 12 figures of children introduced between 1947 and 1949. They proved so popularthat they remained in production until 1983
THE DAYS OF THE WEEK
A series of 14 figures of children, with one boy and one girl representing each day of the week. The original seven figures were introduced in 1938. They proved so popular that a further seven figures were added to the range in 1954. The series was produced until 1985. In 1991 the Days of the Week were re-introduced again in paler colours, they were discontinued in December 2002. In January 2004 a small scale version of the series was introduced and was available for about two years, followed by a much cheaper version that was produced abroad.(The factory stamp includes the country of origin)
THE WORCESTER CHILDREN
A series of small versions of Freda Doughty’s figures of children were introduced in 1983.These were simplified versions of the original models and reduced in size and the new name was printed in black on the bottom. They are generally decorated in pale pastel colours. They were not successful and were discontinued at the end of 1985. A few were sold from the factory shops in 1986 and 1987.
MARKS AND DATING
The earliest examples usually have the name of the model inscribed by hand on the base in pink or lilac. They also have a standard Royal Worcester mark printed in black. Date codes on the mark were only used until the late 1950s. Dating of models that were made in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s is very difficult, but any model with the letter R in a circle as part of the Royal Worcester factory mark was made after 1956. During the 1970s the name of the model was printed in black under the factory mark.