Bunnykins is a much-loved range of china from Royal Doulton, for use in the nursery. Well these days children don't dine in nurseries, but they're still much in use at the breakfast table. They feature cute bunnies cavorting in all sorts of activities: gardening, fishing, walking, dancing, picnicking, and many others that adult humans get up to. There are bunnies around the outside, a bunny inside in the centre of the bowl or cup to see when you've finished, and bunnies and the Royal Doulton identifier on the underneath. These bunnies, some older children think, look like they're doing another thing bunnies are famous for. If so, it probably wasn't intentional by the Bunnykins creator.

The designs were created in 1934 by a nun, Sister Mary Barbara. She was born Barbara Vernon Bailey in Woore in Shropshire on 18 July 1919, daughter of Cuthbert Bailey, managing director of Royal Doulton's Stoke-on-Trent factory. She entered a priory when she was nineteen, at Haywards Heath in Sussex, and died there a couple of days ago, on 4 May 2003. She was not a trained artist but had a natural talent, which her father, though not liking her vocation, drew on for his new range; but he got her to use the name Barbara Vernon on the product. She personally created 66 designs before 1939, when she gave it up, but the range is still in production with other designers.

They now also have a range of figurines for the inevitable collectors, but these aren't what we grew up on.

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