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Cartwright and Edwards plate decorated with a scene from Oliver Twist

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.87

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    Cartwright and Edwards plate decorated with a scene from Oliver Twist

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Plate made by Cartwright and Edwards, likely during the early 20th century, and decorated with a scene from Charles Dickens’ novel, Oliver Twist. The depicted scene is Oliver’s introduction to Fagin by the Artful Dodger. Cartwright & Edwards was an English earthenware and china manufacturer in operation from 1857 until 1990. On the plate, Fagin is portrayed with a beard, a large nose and a skullcap; 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. 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.
    Date
    undated: 
    Geography
    manufacture: Longton (Stoke-on-Trent, England)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    Markings
    face, bottom, within image, printed, brown ink : Oliver’s Introduction to Fagin
    underside, center, impressed : C & E / ENGLAND
    Contributor
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Manufacturer: Cartwright and Edwards
    Biography
    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

    Language
    English
    Classification
    Decorative Arts
    Category
    Ceramics
    Genre/Form
    Pottery.
    Physical Description
    Circular, cream-colored, ceramic plate with a captioned, brown-colored, interior scene of a man and two boys. The man has a large nose, a beard, and thick eyebrows. He wears a skullcap and a long robe. His head is turned toward the two boys on the right. In his right hand is toasting fork with food on the end, while the other hand is prodding food cooking in the fire with a thin pole. To his left is a boy wearing a small brimmed hat, pinstriped pants, and a jacket over a shirt with a vest and tie. The boy’s right hand is in his pocket and he is motioning toward a smaller boy on the right. The small boy wears pants and a long-sleeved shirt while holding a hat in his right hand a thin stick in his left. Behind him, a mug and a lit candle inside a cup are sitting on a wooden table. Around the rim of the plate is a repeating, metallic, gold-colored floral pattern of a large, rounded, many-petaled flower surrounded by leaves. On the rear, near the center, are two small letters in gold-colored ink. The plate has minor, dark-colored staining and smudges on the front above the image, and the floral pattern is worn along the outer edge. The rear also has some faded brown stains, along with the remains of a previously removed sticker in the center, and another square, white sticker with text handwritten in blue ink.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 0.500 inches (1.27 cm) | Diameter: 6.500 inches (16.51 cm)
    Materials
    overall : porcelain, glaze, ink, paper, adhesive
    Inscription
    underside, on sticker, handwritten, blue ink : 2024-E / 42.5 / English

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    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
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn537257

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