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Royal Doulton Dickens Ware bowl decorated with an image of Fagin

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.70

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    Royal Doulton Dickens Ware bowl decorated with an image of Fagin


    Brief Narrative
    Dickens Ware series bowl featuring an image of Fagin, made by Royal Doulton in England during the 20th century. Royal Doulton is an English ceramic manufacturer that specializes in artistically styled, decorated ceramics and tableware. In 1889, Charles Noke joined the company. He later introduced Doulton Series Ware, plates, and other items with decorations based on characters from popular culture. In 1908, Royal Doulton introduced the Dickens Ware series based on Charles Dickens’ characters, which was originally produced until 1937. A second run of the series was produced mid-century. On the bowl, Fagin is portrayed with a beard and a large nose; both stereotypical physical features attributed to Jewish men. In “Oliver Twist,” Fagin is the villainous leader of a gang of children whom he has instructed in the ways of criminality. He attempts to corrupt the protagonist, Oliver, in the same manner. In the novel, Fagin is first seen hunched over a fire holding a toasting fork, imagery that reinforces the antisemitic stereotype of Jewish associations with the devil, due to its resemblance of a pitchfork. He is repeatedly referred to as “the Jew” in the book and is emphasized as a greedy, miserly, and cowardly character, all traits aligning with common antisemitic stereotypes. However, in a later edition of the novel, Dickens reduced his use of “the Jew,” substituting it for pronouns or other phrases. Even in this later version, Fagin is still repeatedly, and negatively, referred to as “the Jew” and remains emblematic of multiple antisemitic canards. Later writings by Dickens portrayed Jews in a more positive light, however, the reprehensible Fagin is his most remembered Jewish character. This bowl is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    creation:  1908-approximately 1975
    creation: England
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    rear, trademark, painted, brown paint : COPYRIGHT / [within a circular border around a central image of Charles Dickens ] ROYAL·DOULTON DICKENS·WARE / England
    rear, below trademark, painted, brown paint : Fagin
    rear, top, handwritten, black ink : D2497
    face, within image, bottom center, left of Fagin’s feet, handwritten, black ink : Noke
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Manufacturer: Royal Doulton
    Designer: Charles Noke
    The Katz Ehrenthal Collection is a collection of more than 900 objects depicting Jews and antisemitic and anti-Jewish propaganda from the medieval to the modern era, in Europe, Russia, and the United States. The collection was amassed by Peter Ehrenthal, a Romanian Holocaust survivor, to document the pervasive history of anti-Jewish hatred in Western art, politics and popular culture. It includes crude folk art as well as pieces created by Europe's finest craftsmen, prints and periodical illustrations, posters, paintings, decorative art, and toys and everyday household items decorated with depictions of stereotypical Jewish figures.

    Physical Details

    Household Utensils
    Physical Description
    Circular, white, ceramic bowl painted with an interior scene of a man with a large nose and long gray beard, walking in front of a closed door and a paned-window with green shutters set into a brick wall. He wears a long, brown, sleeveless robe over a green, long-sleeved shirt and pinstriped, green pants. A red rag or handkerchief hangs from his waist pocket. His head is turned, looking back over his shoulder in a sidelong glance. He walks on a wood-planked floor that fades into the white coloring of the bowl. In the background, on the planked floor, there is a table set with assorted bottles and a single chair to the left of the window. The door is centered along the wall, with a dresser to the right. The rim of the bowl is edged in dark green. The artist’s signature is visible near the man’s feet. Small portions of the paint have worn off in the center of the bowl. A large crack on the right side, extending down from the rim, has been repaired with green filler. The bottom of the bowl bears a circular maker’s mark with a portrait image of a bearded man. There is a small piece of tape on the bottom.
    overall: Height: 1.875 inches (4.763 cm) | Diameter: 6.000 inches (15.24 cm)
    overall : ceramic, glaze, paint, tape, ink
    rear, on sticker, handwritten, black ink : 49.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name

    Administrative Notes

    The bowl was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by the Katz Family.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Special Collection
    Katz Ehrenthal Collection
    Record last modified:
    2023-01-31 14:16:43
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