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Character jug of Fagin sitting on a box

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.82

Toby jug depicting Fagin sitting on a box, made by Artone in Burslem, England. Artone was a small company founded in 1946, which specialized in hand-painted bone china. Toby jugs were first made in the mid-18th century and are ceramic pitchers usually modeled on full-bodied representations of popular characters. Character jugs usually only feature the head and shoulders. Fagin is portrayed with a long beard, a large nose, and thick eyebrows; all 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 pitcher is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Date
creation:  approximately 1946-1979
Geography
manufacture: Burslem (Stoke-on-Trent, England)
Language
English
Classification
Household Utensils
Category
Drinking vessels
Object Type
Pitchers (lcsh)
Genre/Form
Pitchers.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
 
Record last modified: 2021-08-19 11:50:20
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn537251