Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

William Adams & Sons porcelain mug with a scene of Oliver Twist meeting Fagin

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.97

Search this record's additional resources, such as finding aids, documents, or transcripts.

No results match this search term.
Check spelling and try again.

results are loading

0 results found for “keyward

    William Adams & Sons porcelain mug with a scene of Oliver Twist meeting Fagin


    Brief Narrative
    Porcelain mug decorated with two colored illustrations from popular Charles Dickens’ books, manufactured by William Adams & Sons, likely between 1896 and 1920. The image on the back of the mug is from “Old Curiosity Shop,” and was originally drawn by Hablot Knight Browne (aka Phiz). The image was first published in 1840, with the serialized release of the story. However, the caption is from a later illustration of the same scene by Charles Green, and first published in a later edition of the novel in 1876. The image on the front of the mug is from “Oliver Twist,” and was originally drawn by George Cruikshank. It was first published in 1837, with the serialized release of the story. 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 appearance 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 mug is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.
    manufacture: Staffordshire (England)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    front, within box, printed, green ink : Oliver’s reception / by Fagin and / the Boys
    back, within box, printed, green ink : “Then, Marchioness,” / said Mr. Swiveller, / “fire away!”
    bottom, above circle, printed, green ink : ILLUSTRATIONS FROM
    bottom, within maker’s mark, printed, green ink : DICKENS
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Manufacturer: William Adams and Sons
    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
    Drinking vessels
    Object Type
    Mugs (lcsh)
    Drinking vessels.
    Physical Description
    Cylindrical, porcelain mug with flared sides decorated with two transfer printed illustrations and hand-painted details. The mug has a wide rim and sides that taper slightly before widening again at the base. The underside of the base has a raised edge with an inset surface. A dark green border with two narrow stripes below, encircle the rim, just below the lip. Just below the rim on one side, is a dark green, C-shaped, angular handle. The front image depicts six figures in a room with a dog partially seated beneath a table and a brown chair on the far right. Two boys are standing to the left of the dog. The leftmost boy wears a black top hat and tailcoat with brown pants. He is holding the shoulder of the other boy, who is tentatively leaning back and wears a black, brimmed cap, a brown shirt, and white pants. To the dog’s right is a third boy pointing toward the first two with one hand and holding a candle in the other. He wears a black jacket and white pants. Beside him is an older, stooped, bald man with a large nose and beard. He holds a cap in his hand and wears a long blue gown. To the right of the table, behind the old man, is a large man wearing a white top hat and green jacket and a tall woman dressed in red with a large-brimmed, white hat. On the back is a scene of a man and a woman both playing cards. The woman, on the left, is wearing a red dress, sitting on a brown table, and holding the cards tightly to her face. The man, on the right, is sitting in a chair and wearing a blue tailcoat, white pants, and a cap perched crookedly on his head. He holds the cards in his left hand, which is on the table, while he drinks from a tall mug in his opposite hand. A candle is on the table between them, and they are sitting beneath a laden clothesline. Both images have a narrow border, comprised of a line of small, interconnected circles flanked by two thin, green lines. Below each image, in green, is a decorative, rectangular box with a caption. On the bottom of the mug is a green, circular series mark, with a portrait of a man with a goatee in right profile in the center circle. Below the man, within the outer circle is a name, and above that circle is a line of text. There are several small chips around the base of the mug, and the bottom of each caption is smudged and partially worn away.
    overall: Height: 4.000 inches (10.16 cm) | Width: 4.750 inches (12.065 cm) | Depth: 3.625 inches (9.208 cm)
    overall : porcelain, glaze, ink, paint

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Staffordshire (England)

    Administrative Notes

    The mug 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 07:11:15
    This page:

    Download & Licensing

    In-Person Research

    Contact Us