Over the weekend, Betty Lynn attended a Drum Retreat with the Mark Street United Church Drummers at Five Oaks Centre near Paris ON. As the roadie, I did the driving, but once Betty Lynn was established I was off to explore the Guelph, Kitchener Waterloo and Cambridge areas. Guelph turned up nothing of interest, but at St. Jacobs ON I did find a new angel drummer for our collection in (appropriately) a shop called Angel Treasures on King St. N. There was also an extensive Antiques Mall in St. Jacobs, but I found nothing there, nor did I find anything in Kitchener Waterloo. My last destination for the day, was Cambridge ON, and there I struck gold! After a couple of shops left me disappointed, I came to a large mall called Southworks Antiques in the upper level of a restored factory complex. Here I found two figurines, the one a little Lefton China Angel, and the other a wonderful figure of a blind North African mendicant holding out his hand for alms while holding a large tar with jingles. You can imagine my delight when I had the cabinet opened and was able to read the mark on the base. I had indeed found "Mendicant" by Royal Doulton!
This Royal Doulton figure depicting a beggar entitled "Mendicant" H. N. 1365 was issued from 1929 to 1969 and depicts a turbaned figure sitting on a carpeted brick plinth holding out his hand for money while cradling his drum on his lap. The colours are particularly rich and the expression on the figure's face appears to be one of contentment and satisfaction.
Looking further, I found that Mendicant was designed by Arthur "Leslie" Harradine (1887-1965) who was one of Royal Doulton's premier, and most prolific, figurine modellers from 1920 until the 1950s. I was particularly struck by the fact that there is a Canadian connection. Harradine emigrated to Canada and farmed with his brother from 1912 until 1916 when they both returned to England to do their part in the Great War. Leslie was injured and on recovery took up design work for Royal Doulton but not as an employee, preferring to do freelance work and thereby preserving his artistic independence. For forty years, Harradine provided a regular supply of new figures to Royal Doulton. In 1961 Harradine moved to Spain where he modelled local peasants in terra cotta for his own pleasure until his death in 1965.