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Character jug of Fagin sitting on a box

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.601

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    Character jug of Fagin sitting on a box


    Brief Narrative
    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.
    creation:  1946-1979
    creation: Burslem (Stoke-on-Trent, England)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
    bottom, stamped, black ink : ARTONE / ENGLAND / HAND PAINTED
    side, bottom, impressed : FAGIN
    Compiler: Peter Ehrenthal
    Creator: Artone
    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
    Pitchers (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    Ceramic pitcher modeled in the form of a man with a long brown beard, a large nose, and thick eyebrows. He wears a long black coat, black breeches with white stockings, black shoes, and a black brimmed hat. A small, green handkerchief is visible in each of his coat pockets. He sits on a brown box with his right hand clasped over his left, in front of his right shoulder, just below his beard. The top of the hat is an opening for pouring, and a narrow, brown, C-shaped handle is attached to his back. The underside of the pitcher is unpainted, white, and has a maker’s mark in the shape of an artist palette with text inside. Impressed on the lower left side of the box is the name of the character. Torn adhesive labels stuck to the underside partially obscure the maker’s mark.
    overall: Height: 4.000 inches (10.16 cm) | Width: 1.500 inches (3.81 cm) | Depth: 2.750 inches (6.985 cm)
    overall : porcelain, glaze, paint, ink, paper, adhesive

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The pitcher 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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