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It appears that the fakers, thought to be based in the Midlands, have taken new moulds from genuine pieces and produced items that do not have the detail of the originals.

The paintwork is questionable, too, with colours either far too bright to be realistic (eg bright royal blue instead of a gentler shade) or the ‘stoneware’ just badly painted, with some areas noticeably lighter than others, producing a patchy effect.

In the case of ‘chine’ (where lace was laid over the stoneware which was painted through the lace to resemble tapestries with the material burnt off in the kiln), it is even easier to spot the fakes: where the decoration should be delicate, the fakers daubed it on and where the colours should be subtle, the fakers used bright, new-looking ‘gold’.

One of the easiest ways to spot a forgery is the cleanliness of the base – it simply has no age to it. Also, where the originals had incised or gently painted numbers on their bases, the fakes are marked with shiny black felt tip pen.

A Royal Doulton spokesman said: “We take such incidents very seriously and ask any collectors [and dealers] to contact us about any fakes and forgeries. We do not hesitate to take proceedings for any trademark and copyright infringements. Royal Doulton is also aware that there are Bunnykins colourways in the marketplace not produced by Royal Doulton and we regard these as fraudulent.”