Of the fine china collectables Royal Doulton has produced over the years my particular favourite are the nine Professionals seriesware plates. They are called “The Jester”, “The Admiral”, “The Falconer”, “The Parson”, “The Doctor”, “The Hunting Man”, “The Mayor”, “The Squire” and “The Bookworm”.
The Professionals seriesware plates have been produced since the early part of the 20th century and comprise of four distinct firings.
1) The D3XXX series (produced 1909 – 1938)
Generally have a green circle around the central image
2) The D5XXX series (produced 1938 – 1948)
Generally have a thick brown circle around the central image
3) The D6XXX series (produced 1948 – 1960)
Have a thin brown circle around the central image
4) The TCXXXX series (produced 1960 – 1974)
Similar to the D6XXX series but with very *new* looking white china.
The Professionals seriesware firings
The following photos show examples of each of the first three firings of the Professionals seriesware plates. The plates on the left are the D3XXX firing, the middle are the D5XXX firing and the right hand plate is the D6XXX firing. A brief description of the differences between each plate firing is also given. Click on an image to see the full size image.
The TCXXXX Professionals seriesware plates are similar to the D6XXX firing but have not been included for personal reasons. I feel they look too *new* and are not very collectable.
The early D3684 Jester plates in the Professionals seriesware have a black circle painted around the central image of the plate and are much more colourful around the outer rim of the plate than later varieties. The Jester’s cape is also all red whereas later plates have a green panel on the left shoulder and green sections on the head horns. His puppet stick is also red and green on the earlier plates while the D5903 series are dark green with yellow trimming and the D6277 have a lighter green head on the puppet.
The D3684 and D5903 plates have a creamy colour while the D6277 are much whiter. The D3684 is the nicest plate with rich saturated colours and nice glaze. It is also an extremely rare plate to find.
The Admiral is a very popular plate in the Professionals seriesware plates and the early D3616 version is particularly rare, much more so than the Bookworm. Overall its colours are completely different. The Admirals coat is red and his epaulettes are yellow with pale blue/yellow trim. The D5903 and D6277 versions have a royal blue coat with red epaulettes with yellow trim. Later plates have a white sash across his chest and a royal blue hat while the early plate has a pale blue sash and hat.
The rim decoration in the D3616 has a pale blue sea with yellow sailed ships while later versions have a pale green sea with pale sails. The portrait background of the D5902 and D6278 consists of warm coloured clouds while the early D3616 plate is plain white.
Overall the D5903 has the richest colours of the Professionals seriesware plates and the glaze is more creamy than either the D3616 or the D6278 version.
The D3756 Falconer Professionals seriesware plate is another whose colours are quite different from the later versions. The Falconer’s tunic is red with a grey collar over a yellow undershirt with a grey sleeve while the later D5907 and the D6279 versions have a green tunic with matching green collar, a light grey undershirt with a royal blue sleeve. Where the early plate has a light blue/grey circle on the inner rim surrounding the portrait with white clouds and a grey landscape background the later versions have warm coloured clouds and a coloured landscape background surrounded by a thick brown circle on the D5907 and a thin brown circle on the D6278 version.
Other differences include the Falconer’s glove which is grey on the early plates and brown in the later two versions. The falcon itself has more colour detail in the early plate than the later versions. The outer rim decoration on the D3756 consists of white clouds on a pale grey/blue background with white falcons while the later plates have light brown falcons flying over slightly shaded clouds with yellow highlights.
Once again the D5907 Professionals seriesware plates glaze is a more creamy colour overall giving it a richer feel.
The skin tones on the early Parson plates is quite sallow compared to the pinker tones of the later plates. The portrait is surrounded by a green circle in the D3XXX series plates with a cool pale green/blue background. The D5XXX plates have a thick brown circles surrounding the portrait with a much warmer background with the D6280 being the same except for a finer brown circle surrounding the portrait. The Parson’s vest is brown in the later two varieties and is black in the early D3XXX.
The decoration around the outer rim of books and assorted containers is a little washed out looking on the early plate but is much more colourful in later Professionals seriesware plate varieties. Once again the D5XXX variety is the most attractive plate with its creamy glaze while the other two are much whiter.
The Doctor is very similar to the Parson in that the D3189 plates have a green circle surrounding the portrait with a pale, almost monochromatic background. The outer rim decoration is similar to the Parson and is equally washed out in colour. The later D5906 and D6281 varieties have much more colourful rim decoration and the portrait background is much warmer. Again the D5906 has a thick brown circle around the portrait while the D6281 has a finer brown circle.
The Doctor’s hat becomes progressively more saturated black with each succeeding variety but, overall, it is the D5906 which is the most attractive plate from a pretty plain design.
THE HUNTING MAN
The D3349 Hunting Man is again a rather cold looking plate. It has the usual green circle around the portrait with a predominately white background and a brown fox head mounted on the wall. He is wearing a red jacket with a grey vest and plain white cravat. The D5XXX and D6282 varieties give him a blacker hat, yellow vest and a stripped pale blue cravat. The thick brown circle of the D5XXX variety surrounds a much warmer background with a yellow fox head and a picture on the wall. The D6282 has its thin brown circle with a little less detailed background colouring.
The outer rim decoration of hunting horns and jugs and glasses of wine are much more colourful and warmer in later Professionals seriesware plate varieties than pale yellow and blues of the C3349 variety. Once again the D5XXX is the nicest plate with its rich colours and creamy glaze.
The early Mayor plates have a thick green circle around the portrait with a pale grey background. The Mayor sports a red hat, white cravat and a light brown fur collar on his shoulders. Again his face colour is somewhat sallow. The D5899 and the D6283 varieties have a thick brown circle and a thin brown circle respectively around the portrait with a warmer background and face colour. His fur collar is also a pale grey and he sports a pale blue stripped cravat.
The outer rim decoration is predominately yellow in the early D3XXX plates while later varieties have warmer colours added. The D5899 plate is the nicer plate because of its colour saturation and the creamier tone of its glaze.
The D3711 Squire, like most of these early Professionals seriesware plates, lack richness of colour. The green circle surrounding the portrait against a drab grey background is mirrored in the washed out colours of the rim decoration of books, pipes and wine jugs. In these early plates the sallow faced squire has a red jacket with a yellow vest and pale cravat.
The later D5898 has the thick brown circle surrounding the squire who now has a green jacket, red vest and a pale blue polka dot cravat. Very swish. This garb is carried on in the D6284 plates except for the thin brown circle around the portrait. The rim decoration on both later varieties is more colourful.
The D5898 again has the richer colours and that full cream glaze that sets the variety apart from the others.
The D3089 and the D5905 Bookworm plates are considered the most valuable of the Professionals seriesware plates. The D3089 has a green circle surrounding the portrait of the bookworm with a particularly bland background of bookshelves. The drab books around the outer rim do little to enhance the look of this plate and it comes as no surprise that, after the release of the D5905 with its yellow circle around the portrait and an attempt to add some warmth to the background and rim, it remained an unattractive design and was discontinued and not released in the D6XXX series. This is hardly a reason to make it valuable as they are not rare – they pop up with great regularity on eBay.
That being said the D5905 is the more attractive plate because of its richer colours.