Ask a Worthologist: Mom’s ‘Untouchable’ Bird Figurine
“Robin in the Autumn Woods” was designed for Royal Worcester by Dorothy Susan Doughty.
Darren H. inherited a bird figurine from his mother. He thinks it might have been a wedding gift
but was never told where it came from or how much was paid for it. His inquiry
was forwarded on to me via the Ask a Worthologist service.
“I have no idea where this robin figurine came from or where it might have
been purchased, but I think it might have been a wedding present from a
wealthy relative. It’s always sat on the mantel as long as I can remember. I used
to be fascinated by it; it was so lifelike I often expected it to fly away. My mother
gave me strict orders never to touch it, and it wasn’t until after she passed on that I
ever picked it up and looked at it closely. I would like to know anything you can tell me about it.”
Based on your images and what we can see of the mark, this is a Royal Worcester piece titled “Robin in the Autumn Woods,”
designed by Dorothy Susan Doughty.
Doughty was born in San Remo, Italy, in 1892. She is best known for her porcelain models of
American birds designed from 1933 to 1960 for the well-known English porcelain company Royal Worcester. In all, she
produced 36 pairs of birds and three individual models. She also designed a series of British birds, but these were not put into
production until after her death 1962.
All of her birds were made in very limited numbers. The “Robin in the Autumn Woods” figure was issued in 1966 as part of an edition
of only 500.
Compared to her other birds though, “Robin” is a relative bargain considering the limited numbers in which it was
made and the high quality. Most of Doughty’s birds were made as pairs, the male and female pieces featuring elaborate naturalistic staging
perched on branches and plants. These pairs tend have very high values; a pair of “Bob White Quail and Chicks” sold just last year
at auction for $6,500.
The robin figures sell for a great deal less, though. In recent years, they have sold at auction in a
wide range, from $120 to $650, but with most selling in the $200-to-$400 range.
Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.
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