Beswick, as a company has been around since 1894. The firm started out making toilet seats, tiles, vases and similar ceramic wares. They also began making some small animals figurines around this time. Beswick was able to make it thru the Depression era and both World Wars; in the late 30's and early 40's they came out with many of the animals figurines we know today. Beswick horses were first produced in 1939, the first being the ever popular (and a common find) Bois Roussel. Then came the 818 Shire Mare, Huntsman, Shetland, and many others. Up until 1989, all horses were produced under the Beswick name and backstamp. Royal Doulton had acquired the Beswick company earlier, but in August 1989 all horses were produced with the RD name and backstamp. (Some Beswick collectors won't even touch the horses with a RD backstamp!); many of the Beswick horses were then discontinued once the RD backstamp was used. Royal Doulton has since come out with new horses not part of the original Beswick line. Not all of the horses carried into the RD line are produced in the same colors as under the Beswick name.

The company was passed down thru the family, until the late 60's when Ewart Beswick wanted to retire, but didn't have a son or direct heir that he could pass control to. So, with its fine reputation intact, it was sold to Royal Doulton as part of their expansion program. Many of the horses that were currently in the line (in fact, most of them) were carried forward.

At first, RD continued to release these horses with the Beswick backstamp. During this period, Royal Doulton added new horses to the Beswick line with the Beswick backstamp; they also decided to market the Beswick Spirit Horse line and discontinued many of the nicer Beswicks. Some of the new RD's, never produced by Beswick, include the famous Thoroughbred, "Desert Orchid," a Shetland, an unrealistic QH, a Welsh Mountain pony, a horse called "The Winner," and others. A number of the Beswicks brought into the RD line were no longer produced in all of the original colors and now featured the RD backstamp. As of August 1, 1989, all but 3 mounted pieces were produced with a RD backstamp, even though they were still being produced in the old Beswick factory.

For the 100 year centenial, several pieces were released by RD with a Beswick backstamp, but only for that one year--1994. There is also a Bewick Collectors Circle (now defunct) special , called "Hollydell Dixie," that will be coming out in August 1995, the RD Shetland painted in a special chestnut and white pinto, and will have a Beswick backstamp.

There are several books available on Beswick figurines, such as the Harvey May books, "Beswick, A Catalogue" (published for the centenary of Beswick and limited to 1000 copies), and Marilyn Sweet's book, "Collecting Beswick, A Guide to Horses, Ponies and Foals". Another book is "The Carlton Standard Catalogue of Royal Doulton Animals", which is a wonderful book if you are interested in more than just horses. They are coming out with a new book called the "Charlton Guide to Beswick Animals."

Marilyn Sweet is from England and has been acknowledged as an expert on the Beswick horses for many years. Originally she was going to publish a small black and white book on the horses, but with the help of hte now defunk Beswick Collectors Circle, plus a member that owns a publishing company, she produced a wonderful book on the horses. It has full color photos of each horse that was produced under the Beswick name, plus a descriptive text on each horse. Included is the new RD number, if it was carried forward into their line. The donkeys are not included, as Beswick considered them part of the Farmyard series. The book also includes photos of all the various colorways the horses came in. It comes with a 1993 price guide. This writeup was provided by Laura Pervier

The Beswick Quarterly site and Beswick Collector sites are defunct.

January 2008 update via Kim Mason: Beswick have now been bought by a gentleman called John Sinclair in Sheffield. He has started to produce and new range under the John Beswick name. There is a "connoisseur" range comprising of LE Prezwalski, Carmargue, Queen Elizabeth II on Burmese and hunts figures which can be painted to order. They also produce an economy range modelled by Richard Wawnzesta. They comprise of Shire in bay and grey gloss, Hunter in bay and grey gloss, thoroughbred in bay and grey gloss, Clydesdale in bay and grey gloss, Welsh Mountain Pony in grey and bay gloss and a Donkey in bay gloss (very cute). All queries to

Sinclairs Mail Order Dept., 266 Glossop Road, Sheffield, S10 2HS England


Karen Grimm has a "virtual tour" of her Beswick collection as of Winter 2010 here.

Photo credits:
Spirit of Earth, shown as "Dutchess of York," Shire mare owned by Janet Piercy

Middle: Morgan Horse, shown as "Vlad of Ravenwood," Morgan/ASB stallion owned by Janet Piercy. Ruth comments: the Morgan is a model of a real Morgan stallion called Tarryall Maestro who stood in England.

Bottom: Grundy, shown as "Noble Heir," Holsteiner stallion owned by Janet Piercy

Below: Bois Roussel in matte bay; photo provided by Teresa Rogers-Worrall

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