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Charles Noke

British, 1858-1941

Institution: Royal Doulton
Charles Noke began his long career with the famous Doulton studio in 1899 having learned his trade as a ceramic designer at the Royal Worcester factory. He became Royal Doulton's senior designer and modeller.

Noke was born in Worcester, England in 1858, the son of a local antique dealer. His interest in ceramics began when his father's friend R W Binns encouraged him to spend time in the studios of the Worcester Royal Porcelain Company - Binns was the Company's art director. It was here that Noke met and was mentored by James Hadley, becoming a 15-year old apprentice in 1873 as well as studying at the Worcester College of Design. Noke remained with the Royal Worcester factory for 16 years and gained international recognition for his ornamental vases and figurines in particular. He was offered the position of chief designer at the Royal Doulton factory at Burslem in 1899.

Noke's time at Doulton saw him at the forefront of ceramic design including the invention of the Flambé glazes, Sung ware, Chang ware and Chinese Jade - all very popular with collectors since the turn of the 20th century. Figurines - both human and animal - became however the most popular of his designs with a wide range of subjects from historical characters to popular pastimes.

In the 1930s Noke introduced to collectors the Doulton range of limited editions of loving cups, character jugs and Toby jugs. His last design was completed just before his death in 1941 at the credible age of 83. His son, Cecil Jack Noke, succeeded him as Royal Doulton's Art Director.