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Royal Doulton ceramic figurine of Fagin dressed in black

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.81

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    Royal Doulton ceramic figurine of Fagin dressed in black

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    Brief Narrative
    Dickens Ware series figurine of Fagin, designed by Leslie Harradine, and made by Royal Doulton in England, likely in the 1920s or 1930s. Royal Doulton is an English ceramic manufacturer that specializes in artistically styled and decorated ceramics and tableware. 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. 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 described in his first scene as 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 also 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 figurine is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    creation:  approximately 1920-1939
    manufacture: England
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    bottom, stamped, to the right of hole, black ink : DOULTON / ENGLAND
    bottom, stamped, to the left of hole, black ink : Fagin
    bottom, impressed, above hole : (667?)
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Manufacturer: Royal Doulton
    Designer: Leslie Harradine
    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

    Decorative Arts
    Physical Description
    Small, shiny, ceramic figurine shaped as a man with painted details. He wears a floor-length black coat with small patches and black shoes. His features include: a large nose, black beard and hair, and light red cheeks. He is standing with his arms raised in front of his midsection, his right hand clasping his opposite hand. He is facing forward, but his eyes are looking to his left with a sidelong glance and his upper body leans to his right slightly. The figurine is on a small, black, square-shaped base with a raised backstop behind the man’s feet. On the underside, a round hole reveals the hollow interior of the figurine. Above the hole, there is an impressed letter and three-digit number. Flanking the hole are the lines of black manufacturer’s text, one to the left and two on the right. A paper sticker with blue and black ink numbers written on it is adhered to the back.
    overall: Height: 4.000 inches (10.16 cm) | Width: 1.750 inches (4.445 cm) | Depth: 1.375 inches (3.493 cm)
    overall : porcelain, glaze, paint, ink, paper, adhesive
    back, paper sticker, handwritten, blue and black ink : 3979 / E21 / Y1.5

    Rights & Restrictions

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

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    Administrative Notes

    The figurine 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:
    2024-05-02 15:08:12
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