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Leslie Harradine
Leslie Harradine is one of the most popular and prolific figurine modelers to work for Royal Doulton. His work for them spans a period of 60 years, during which he modeled well over 250 figurines, as well as vases and other miscellaneous items.

Arthur Leslie Harradine was born on June 13, 1887 in Lambeth, Surrey, the second of four children born to Charles Percy and Jessie Harradine.

Leslie Harradine joined Doulton in 1902, at age 15, at their Lambeth studio, as an apprentice modeler to master sculptor, George Tinworth. He also attended Camberwell School of Arts where he studied part-time under renowned Wedgwood sculptor, Albert Toft. After qualifying to work in Doulton's design department, Leslie was asked to design vases, flasks and other pots. This was not the type of design work he would have preferred; his interest was with free standing figurine modeling. Although he did have the opportunity to model a set of six figural spirit flasks in the image of politicians of the day and also a set of characters taken from the works of Charles Dickens, he spent most of his first decade with Doulton designing pots.

Just into his early 20s, his mother passed away and he moved to live with his brother, Percy, on his poultry farm in Hertfordshire. Shortly afterwards, Leslie resigned from Doulton to follow his brother to Canada. Percy wanted to take advantage of the Canadian Dominion Lands Act to establish a farm and home in Saskatchewan. With a growing disinterest in the constricting designs Doulton was asking of him and the recent death of his mother, there was little to keep Leslie from the joining Percy on this new adventure. Between them they purchased approximately 4,000 acres. It was not easy going, but they enjoyed it, worked hard and managed to scrape together enough to survive. While the earth was not ideal for farming, Leslie found he could use the clay deposits for modeling in his spare time.

As WWI was beginning to heat up, both brothers enlisted in Lord Strathcona's Horse Regiment in 1916. Leslie joined the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force in April, 1917 and headed to join the fighting in France. Twice, in combat, Leslie had his horse shot from under him. The second time, he badly injured his leg, as his horse collapsed on him. This resulted in a lengthy spell in hospital back in Bedfordshire, England. It was here that Leslie met Edith May Denton, who was soon to become his wife.

By the time the war had ended, Leslie and Edith were married and had their first daughter, Jessie. Saskatchewan did not seem like an appropriate place for his new family to start their lives together, so Percy took over his interests in Canada and Leslie settled in Luton, Bedfordshire, with dreams of opening his own modeling and painting studio.

Royal Doulton Art Director, Charles Noke, had been impressed with Leslie's earlier figural pieces so when he learned that Leslie was back in England, he looked to recruit him to the Doulton Burslem works. Leslie refused the job offer, but they agreed to a trial freelance arrangement, through which Leslie would work from his home studio and submit models for Noke's consideration.

The freelance arrangement was hugely successful and lasted until Leslie's retirement, 40 years later. He provided a regular supply of models, which began appearing as part of Doulton's HN range of figurines from 1920, with Contentment (HN395), a sweet depiction of his wife and daughter, Jessie, being the first one released. The arrangement gave Leslie a lot of artistic freedom and allowed for designs that otherwise may never have appeared, including several swimsuit and nude models. Of course, Charles Noke provided feedback and suggestions, one of which led to the Dickens series, inspired by his earlier Lambeth work.

Leslie is responsible for so many of the most popular and commercially successful Royal Doulton figurines. Fashionable ladies, like Top O' The Hill (HN1834) or Autumn Breezes (HN1911), beautifully capture his love for the outdoor life and the movement of his wind-blown subjects. His child studies, like Marie (HN1655) and Tootles (HN1680), are so sweet and adorable. His street vendors and other character studies were equally in demand. While Charles Noke revived figurine production for Royal Doulton and provided the vehicle for Leslie's talents, it was Leslie that popularized the brand and helped it appeal to a broader audience.

Leslie kept his private life to himself and little is published about him outside of his professional work as a sculptor. Throughout the latter half of his life he divorced and remarried several times, each time moving location, from Bedfordshire, to London, to Kent and to the Isle of Sark, the smallest of the Channel Islands, just south of England. He had a total of eight children of his own and a stepson. His children are said to have inspired many of his best loved figurines. Despite the changes in his location and marital status, Leslie continued to deliver new designs to Royal Doulton each month. He finally retired in the late 1950s.

In 1961, Leslie moved to Spain to live out his retirement. He still modeled figurines, but only for pleasure, creating terra cotta representations of the locals. He died in Gibraltar in 1965.

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