The North American Birds Collection
The porcelain birds in the colonnade cases were sculpted by Dorothy Doughty, artist and amateur ornithologist, at the request of the Royal Porcelain Company of Worchester. Miss Doughty’s renderings are so lifelike due to her great attention to detail ranging from accurate color reproduction to the process by which the sculptures were cast and fired.
Dorothy Doughty, born in San Remo, Italy in 1892, painted her first watercolor with her mother’s help at age two. Later she studied at the Eastbourne School of Art. The North American bird series was her first work using porcelain. Early in the project, she decided that working with live birds would render the best results, so she obtained and kept most of the birds in an aviary. Other birds indigenous to North America were studied during her two trips to the United States.
Most of the birds are set against a backdrop of natural flowers and foliage. Flowers have been used extensively to decorate porcelain since the nineteenth century. Despite their fragility and the technical difficulties of manufacture, they have remained popular to the present day.
The collection housed here is an almost complete set of the North American bird series, produced from 1935 through 1968. All figurines are hand-painted and limited editions.
John Schweitzer, Distinguished Friend of the Libraries, facilitated the gift of this rare and valuable collection to the University of Missouri. It is on permanent loan from the College of Arts and Science.
The Friends of the Libraries extend deepest appreciation to all those whose donations made the display of this extraordinary collection possible.