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Bunnykins by Royal Doulton

Updated on December 2, 2017
Ben Reed profile image

Ben is a semi-retired sixty something, having spent 30 years working within the UK Utility industry. A father of 3 boys and grandad of 3.

Bunnykins Collectables

Eileen, my wife who has put up with me for over 39 years, started collecting Bunnykin plates, cups, clocks, bowls...in fact anything with Bunnykins on them, some 8 years ago. Now when I tell you that Eileen (being a typical Yorkshire lass), has a simple rule..."never pay more than a couple of pounds for any single item" - then it makes it all the more surprising that in the 8 years of searching boot sales, collectors fairs, charity shops etc. etc., Eileen has managed to accumulate in excess of 200 pieces of Royal Doulton Bunnykins.

Too many to have them all on display at the same time, they take their turn to be displayed before being placed back in storage - that said, there are always at least 50 pieces on display at any one time.

This hubpage: Bunnykins by Royal Doulton is dedicated to Eileen's ever growing Bunnykins collection. I hope that you find it interesting.


Bunnykins Plate
Bunnykins Plate

Bunnykins on Wikipedia.

This is some of what Wikipedia has to say about Royal Doulton Bunnykins:

The chinaware line originated with artwork by Mary Barbara Bailey, the daughter of Cuthbert Bailey, general manager of Doulton during the 1930s. Unbeknownst to the public, Mary Barbara Bailey was not a professional illustrator, but a nun in the Augustinian Canonesses of the Lateran.

Introduced in 1934, Bunnykins tableware depicted Mr. and Mrs. Bunnykins and other rabbits dressed in human clothing, in colourful rural and small-town English scenes, transfer-printed on white china. The earliest pieces, signed by Vernon, are quite rare and highly prized.

Bunnykins china was used by Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret and thus became a popular present given as christening and birthday gifts in middle-class English homes.

Source

Who was Mary Barbara Bailey?

She was born in Shropshire and named Barbara Vernon Bailey.

In 1933 she became an Augustinian nun and took the name Sister Mary Babara. She lived in an enclosed convent in Sussex. In 1934, her father sought to make nursery ware from the drawings that Mary had made whilst growing up. The prioress granted permission provided that no financial recompense was made to Sister Mary Barbara or the convent.

Sister Mary Barbara had to stop illustrating and drawing once her teaching duties became too busy. It was at this time that designers such as Colin Twinn and Hubert Light took over the designs.

Sister Mary Barbara Bailey died on 4 May 2003 at Haywards Heath, West Sussex, she was aged 92.


On the 8th May 2003, an obituary published in Britain's "The Independent," the writer, Maggie Parkham relates how at 4 o'clock on the day she interviewed Sister Mary Barbara at her infirmary room, a group of nuns appeared with a tea trolley bearing biscuits and cakes and laden with Bunnykins china. Sister Mary Barbara, however, drank coffee from a plain yellow mug.

Dating Bunnykins Pieces

The most sought after pieces of Bunnykins Tableware, tend to be those bearing Barbara Vernons signature.

Dating Bunnykins Tableware

Cups, Mugs and Two Handled Mugs

As is the way with most collectables, patterns become discontinued and shapes change over time. These can be a good indicator of the age of your item.

Bunnykins beaker
Bunnykins beaker | Source

Did you know that you can use the pattern of rabbits running around the edge of cups and beakers to help you date them?

Between 1937 - 1989, the rabbits tended to be running around the inside rim. After 1989 they tend to run around the outside of the rim.

On this example the rabbits are running around the inside of the rim - indicating that the piece is pre 1989.

Bunnykins Cup
Bunnykins Cup | Source

Bunnykins Cup.

Did you know that in 1979, Bunnykins introduced the "hug-a-mug" shape - these are cups, mugs and beakers with a slightly turned out rim.

Bunnykins Two Handled Loving Cup
Bunnykins Two Handled Loving Cup | Source

Bunnykins Two Handled Loving Cup

Bunnykins Two Handled Mug (or Loving Cup).

Did you know that in 1979, Bunnykins introduced the "hug-a-mug" shape - these are cups, mugs and beakers with a slightly turned out rim.

Bunnykins Makers Mark
Bunnykins Makers Mark | Source

Bunnykins Makers Marks

The first and most obvious sign of your piece of tableware being "Bunykins" by Royal Doulton are the three rabbits wearing red jackets carrying the Royal Doulton makers mark. On top of the mark is a crown with a lion on top. If your item has this mark, then congratulations - you have a Bunnykins item.

In addition to the above marks, you will find several variations where additional wording surrounds the mark. These can be used to narrow down the age of the item. For example, you will often see the date 1936 - this can be misleading however as this was also seen during the period 1976 to 1987 - and then again after 1993.

Why not take part in my poll?

I love Bunnykins because....

See results

I hope that you have enjoyed this hubpage. - Please leave feedback. Its always good to know what you think.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      The statement that the bunnies running around the outside of the cup started in 1989 is not completely true. I have a two handled mug from one of my children that has the bunnies on the outside but one was born in 1974 and the other in 1979 and I am trying to remember which one the set belongs to.

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      DebMartin 4 years ago

      Interesting. I just found some of these in my Mom's estate.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love the Bunnykins because they were my plates and cup when I was a baby.

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      @shana273: Thank you.

    • shana273 profile image

      shana273 4 years ago

      The Bunnykins are adorable.

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      @yonique88: I think that Royal Doulton are such quality makers - it shines through their models.

    • yonique88 profile image

      yonique88 4 years ago

      I love anything made by Royal Doulton. The Bunnykins are soooo cute.

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      @junecampbell: Thank you.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 4 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I love Royal Doulton figurines. The Bunnykins one are adorable. Great lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Classic sentence, made me smile.

      "Now when I tell you that Eileen (being a typical Yorkshire lass), has a simple rule..."never pay more than a couple of pounds for any single item"

      All the best.

    • profile image

      MarcellaCarlton 4 years ago

      Adorable!

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      @Elsie Hagley: Thank you for your visit and comment - the blessing is especially appreciated.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Love Bunnykins Royal Doulton. I could collect them myself. Have a couple of pieces. Thanks for sharing. Blessed.

    • profile image

      cmadden 4 years ago

      Bunnykins is adorable!

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      @sharonbellis: They make ideal baby gifts - something to keep and treasure.

    • sharonbellis profile image

      Sharon Bellissimo 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      I received some bunnykins bowls and cups as baby shower gifts many many years ago!

    • Mary Stephenson profile image

      Mary Stephenson 4 years ago from California

      This is a really interesting lens. I think I may actually have a piece from my mother after she died. It is boxed up somewhere in my house, but will come across it someday. They are absolutely adorable.

    • aviwolfson profile image

      Avi Wolfson 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great lens!

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 5 years ago from Redcar

      @webmavern: Quite a number of the bunnykins collectables are themed for christenings.

    • profile image

      webmavern 5 years ago

      I think some of these would make lovely new baby/christening gifts.

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      BarbaraCasey 5 years ago

      Gosh, my Bunnykins bowl is over 60 years old. I ate porridge in it when I was a kid.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have a few Bunnykins, a couple of them have her signature and one has a green stamp on the bottom and looks much older. Looks like a shot glass I think it's called a beaker though. Do you know anything about them?

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      I have to say, anything called "Bunnykins" gets my vote! :)

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 5 years ago from Redcar

      @anonymous: Thanks Tipi, always a pleasure when you drop by.

    • Ivan Wozniak profile image

      Ivan Wozniak 5 years ago from England

      I learnt a lot from your lens about Bunnikins history. Pleased to see its still popular. among collectors. For many years I helped make the glaze supplied to Royal Doulton for Bunnikins!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Just popped by again to Bunnykins, they are so charming. :)

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 5 years ago from Redcar

      @LynetteBell: Thank you. I am pleased that you enjoyed your visit.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Such a lovely lens.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 5 years ago

      Love the Royal Doulton Bunnykins - always had them as a child and kept them for my own kids. Mom used to say, quick, eat your meal before the bunnies do! :)

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 5 years ago from Redcar

      @LittleLindaPinda: Thank you for your visit. Royal Doulton had such a diverse range of items. I love their statues too.

    • LittleLindaPinda profile image

      Little Linda Pinda 5 years ago from Florida

      I did not know Royal Dalton made these items. I have one statue I bought while visiting England.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Ben Reed: thanks for letting me know. great.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Ben Reed: Thank you that helps a lot!

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 5 years ago from Redcar

      @anonymous: Hi, I have seen this particular Bunnykins Mug being sold on ebay for between $18 and $25.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am trying to find out an approximate value of a Bunnykins Albion shaped single handle mug. It depicts "Disturbing sleeping father" scene. an anyone help?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      THANKS. THIS WAS SO USEFUL. i HAVE A COLLECTION OF 6 ITEMS THAT I AM TRYING TO PRICE. SOME DESIGNS SEEM NOWHERE AT ALL SO WONDER IF THEY ARE RARE. MY CEREAL BOWL HAS A BUNNY TAKING HIS HAT OFF TO A LADY OUT WALKING WITH A MIFF. I HAVE A CUP THAT SEEMS TO HAVE BUNNY ON HIS KNEES PROPOSING AND A LITTLE BREADPLATE OF MOMMY BUNNY AND BABY BUNNY OUT WALKING WITH HER CARRYING A BASKET. I ALSO HAVE A BUG WITH BU8NNYS ON THE OUTISDE BUT IT IS CHIPPED BUT IT IS A COUPLE DANCING AND THE TROUSERS BEING IRONED.

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 5 years ago from Redcar

      @CCGAL: Thank you for your visit and the blessing - always appreciated.

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 5 years ago

      Oops - I left my comment in the wrong place ... and I should know better. Sorry!

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 5 years ago from Redcar

      @lesliesinclair: I think they are great fun. I smile every time I walk past them on display.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      Fun to see photos of these dishes again.

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 5 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      How come Bunnykins has passed me by? ! I love my Royal Douton china ( Yorktown- now sadly no longer made)

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Yes I enjoy the ride... I always like vintage art...

    • wheresthekarma profile image

      wheresthekarma 5 years ago

      I have always loved these since I was little.

    • wheresthekarma profile image

      wheresthekarma 5 years ago

      I have always loved these since I was little.

    • profile image

      oussbou 5 years ago

      nice sharing

    • lilblackdress lm profile image

      lilblackdress lm 5 years ago

      I have a piece of Bunnykins from my mother and never realized it was so popular and that there is a collection of other items. Thanks for the info!

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I love your wife's Bunnykins passion.

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 5 years ago from Redcar

      @goo2eyes lm: I very much appreciate the blessing - thank you.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      just flying back to share the golden dust for the exquisite chinaware.

    • Scotties-Rock profile image

      Clairissa 5 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      Each piece is a work of art. They are adorable. What a fun thing to collect!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love the imagination shown in each scene. I have given a couple of pieces to one of our great-grand daughters. I have acquired four more pieces recently. However there are seven great grandchildren, that means I must find more for the rest of them. I wouldn't want them to feel slighted, would I?

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Beautiful dishes. Such charming characters.

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 5 years ago from Redcar

      @favored: Eileen is very grateful for your comment. These are a great passion for her and your kind words made her day. Thank you.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      Tell Eileen for me she has great taste. I've admired Royal Doulton items for years and these are no exception. Very nice len.

    • profile image

      LazyKat 5 years ago

      Very cute, I didn't know about these before!

    • MamaRuth profile image

      MamaRuth 5 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your information about Bunnykins. I do have a couple of pieces that I was given before my oldest son was born. I don't actually collect these but do have a 'thing" for bunny items in general so they fit in nicely!

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 5 years ago

      I often give these as baby presents when a friend has a baby. They will last and be handed down.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      i really did. cute bunnies.

    • SquidooPower profile image

      SquidooPower 6 years ago

      I have never in my life heard of bunnykins. Good lens.

    • mermaidlife profile image

      mermaidlife 6 years ago

      I had to check this lens out to find out what Bunnykins were. I found out that they are cute!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I was born on the lunar year of the rabbit so I like these.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have a set from when my daughter was a baby , I didn't realise they were still so popular.

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 6 years ago from Redcar

      @anonymous: Eileen has a tea plate with this very design. It is quite a hard item to find these days. I have searched ebay and there is just this bowl at auction at the moment. I have attached the link below - it is due to expire in 16 hours so you will need to be quick.

      http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/bunnykins-bowl-/16066283...

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 6 years ago

      They really make great collectible, I like them but never really collected them.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I'm hoping you can help me. My wife has a Bunnykins bowl that was given to her on the day of her birth in 1958. Unfortunately it got broken & I hope to replace it for her. Could you point me in the right direction?? The design has a large red post box in the centre with it's door open, a small blue pixie mailman is collecting the mail from the box. Another pixie mailman is above riding a bluebird?? There are two boy bunnies in the foreground, one has a letter he wants to post & in the background is a bunny couple, the girl bunny has an umbrella open. Again, I know nothing about how I could find this bowl to replace it for her, so if you could help it would be appreciated.

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 6 years ago from Redcar

      @anonymous: Thank you your comments. Bunnykins are still made in England today and still attract quite a following.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      My four children each had a set which we used often, not just for special occasions. We would talk about the pictures which was great to draw their attention to details of which there are many. A set used to be my standard baby gift.

      I still find myself looking to collect more dishes. Now I have grandchildren. Are they still made it England or have they gone overseas also? That makes me sad.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have seen Bunnykins and they sure are sweet and can see how a collection could be started very easily. I'm thinking that you must enjoy them as well with 50 on display at any given time and since you were able to present such well done tutorial on collecting Bunnykins. Spouses aren't always so enthused about each other's collections or hobbies. Sweet!

    • ColorPetGifts profile image

      ColorPetGifts 6 years ago

      Love these Bunnykins collector's items, my mum always bought them for my kids at birth. Nice memories -:)

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 6 years ago

      we bought many of these for our two babies over time. They're both teenagers now but still collect them.

      Great lense - well done!!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      The Bunnykins range is gorgeous. What a lovely idea for a collection. Congratulations to your wife on her success with it, and to you for your lens all about Royal Doulton Bunnykins.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      Oh, I love this collection! Thank you for sharing.

    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 6 years ago

      Even the makers marks are cute!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      Great lens! I had a lovely Royal Doulton cup and sauced that literally exploded in my China cabinet...I never knew why.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      I think they are wonderful...no wonder your wife collects them. Very nice article about the creator too.