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Franklin Porcelain miniature Fagin Character jug

Object | Accession Number: 2016.184.263

Miniature character jug depicting Fagin, designed by Peter Jackson for Franklin Porcelain in London, England, and made in 1983. Character jugs are ceramic pitchers usually modeled on the head and shoulders of popular characters. They are similar to Toby jugs, which are pitchers modeled on full-bodied representations of popular characters. On the jug, Fagin is portrayed with a beard a large nose, thick eyebrows, and hooded eyes; 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 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. The miniature jug is one of the more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

manufacture:  1983
manufacture: Malaysia
distribution: England
Household Utensils
Drinking vessels
Object Type
Pitchers (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family
Record last modified: 2023-01-31 14:17:08
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