An Earnest Cleaning

This May, Tryon Palace volunteer Sue Gurley spent many hours restoring two ornamental terra cotta urns in the Latham Memorial Garden near the gateway to the Hawks Allée. The urns were made in the London Borough of Lambeth, by Doulton & Co., and are estimated to date to the mid to late 19th century. 

A layer of dirt and grime had accumulated and hardened on the surface of the urns from constant exposure to the elements. Gurley, who often volunteers in the Tryon Palace conservation lab, used a synthetic detergent with neutral pH, soft bristle brushes, and toothpicks to reveal the original terra cotta surface.

Doulton & Co., now Royal Doulton, was founded in 1815 by John Doulton, Martha Jones, and John Watts. The company was originally named Watts & Doulton, and then changed to Doulton & Co. in 1854 after Watts retired. One notable fan of Doulton & Co. was Queen Victoria, who knighted John Doulton’s son, Sir Henry Doulton, in 1887 for his services to ceramics and the advancement of ceramic art, which included the use of stoneware drain pipes and water filters to improve living conditions in London.

Now, Tryon Palace’s Doulton & Co. urns are freshly cleaned and ready for many more visitors to enjoy. 

Interested in volunteering at Tryon Palace? Visit our Volunteer page for more information. 

Tryon Palace volunteer Sue Gurley cleans the terra cotta Doulton & Co. urns in the Latham Garden.
Tryon Palace volunteer Sue Gurley cleans the terra cotta Doulton & Co. urns in the Latham Garden.

The Doulton & Co. marking on the base of one of the urns.
The Doulton & Co. marking on the base of one of the urns.

A freshly cleaned Doulton & Co. urn.
A freshly cleaned Doulton & Co. urn.

The Doulton & Co. urns are located in the Latham Garden near the gateway to the Hawks Allée.
The Doulton & Co. urns are located in the Latham Garden near the gateway to the Hawks Allée.

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