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Bulldog Jack by Royal Doulton, 1941
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Bulldog Jack by Royal Doulton, 1941

Measurements: Height: 10.5cm (4in)

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This example bearing the backstamp ‘Made in England’, and the post 1927 numeric ’14’ indicating 1941 as the year of production.

During the darkest days of World War Two when Britain alone continued to defy Germany’s craziest ambitions, ‘Bulldog Jack’ was revived by Charles Noke, Royal Doulton’s veteran designer. Later, the Union flag draped British bulldog was given a new lease of life as a symbol of national resolve and ‘backs-to-the-wall’ patriotic spirit, with the addition of a Churchillian attributes of a cigar, Trinity House cap or ‘bowker’. These latter figures were produced for twelve months during 1941-1942.

Clear proof of Bulldog Jack’s enduring appeal is evinced in film appearances. Firstly in the 2011 version of John Le Carre’s Cold War classic Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and in the 2012 James Bond’s film Skyfall (2012). In the former Bulldog Jack appears on the desk behind Control (John Hurt) while he speaks into the telephone, while in the latter Bulldog Jack takes on a central role as the bequest of M (Judi Dench) to Bond as a symbol of duty to the national cause. Bulldog Jack also appears in Spectre (2015) in a scene set in Bond’s London flat, albeit in severely damaged condition.

Charles John Noke (1858-1941) joined Royal Doulton’s Nile Street works at Burslem in 1889 as Chief Designer from Royal Worcester with whom he had been apprenticed while attending the Worcester School of Design. Later as Art Director from 1914 he was hugely influential in helping Royal Doulton establish itself as a world leader in producing many ranges of pottery using differing techniques. He is also noted for his major contribution in reviving the fortunes of British made figurines in general by firstly persuading Henry Doulton that he could design figures that would sell and by successfully launching them in the face of stiff international competition at the Chicago World Fair of 1893. While the majority of Doulton’s character studies and figurines have remained strictly products of their time, Bulldog Jack in all his sizes and guises has transcended the decades to become an all-time British ceramic design classic.

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