Bulldog Jack by Royal Doulton, 1941
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The middle sized version of the three Bulldog Jack figures first produced in 1915 by Royal Doulton as a symbol of First World War British resolve, which has endured down the years an icon of ‘backs-to-the-wall’ patriotic spirit, especially in the early years of the Second World War.
This example bearing the backstamp 14 indicating the year of production as 1941.
In more recent times the original Royal Doulton Bulldog Jack has made big screen appearances in the fictional world of the British Secret Service. Firstly in the 2011 version of John Le Carre’s Cold War classic Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, where Bulldog Jack, in all three sizes, appears behind Control (John Hurt) while he speaks into the telephone. In the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall (2012), a large sized 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, following injuries sustained in the bombing of MI5’s Thame side headquarters. The latest proof of Bulldog Jack’s enduring appeal is his appearance in the upcoming James Bond movie ‘No Time To Die’ (2021). The Bond franchise, it should be said, has spawned a reproduction figure that clearly lacks the character of the originals
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.