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Alfred Meakin plate with an image of Fagin

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.85

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    Alfred Meakin plate with an image of Fagin


    Brief Narrative
    Van Dyck Ware Dickens Characters plate made by Alfred Meakin in England, likely in the 1920s or 1930s. The Alfred Meakin company operated in England from 1875 until 1976, when it was acquired by another company. On the plate, 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. This imagery reinforces the antisemitic stereotype of Jewish associations with the devil, due to the toasting fork’s 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 plate is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    manufacture:  approximately 1920-approximately 1939
    manufacture: England
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    rear, stamped, within maker’s mark, blue ink : Van Dyck / Ware. / ENGLAND
    rear, stamped, black ink : DICKENS CHARACTERS.
    face, bottom right, printed, black ink : STAN
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Manufacturer: Alfred Meakin
    Artist: Stanmore
    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, white, square-shaped plate with a transfer printed illustration of a scene depicting man with a large nose and long gray beard standing in front of a clothesline. He wears a long, green robe with red slippers. His head is turned, looking back over his shoulder and his right arm is raised with his open palm facing up. He stands on a wood-planked floor. Behind him, a blue vest, a red suit, and green trousers hang from a clothesline in front of a cracked wall. In the lower, right section of the image is a small wooden box with a candle sitting on it. The first few letters of the artist’s name are in the lower right corner, but the rest of the letters have been cut-off by the edge of the image. The image has a narrow, painted, black border, and a white margin separates the border from the scalloped edge of the plate. The center of the plate has a shallow, circular well. On rear of the plate is a blue maker’s mark in the shape of an artist palette set on two horizontally oriented, parallel paintbrushes. There are several lines of text at the center of the palette, as well as an additional one beneath. A small, black ink number is also below the maker’s mark. A large vertical crack across the center of the plate is visible on the face and rear.
    overall: Height: 5.250 inches (13.335 cm) | Width: 5.250 inches (13.335 cm) | Depth: 0.375 inches (0.953 cm)
    overall : porcelain, glaze, paint, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name

    Administrative Notes

    The plate 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:
    2024-02-21 07:11:16
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