HAND PAINTED blue and white Delft finish Toby jug made in France 20C. This substantial 11" jug is the full-body version of 'Ordinary Toby' sitting contentedly while balancing a jug of ale on his left knee. Marked 'Made in France' under the glaze on the base, this is one of a set of four large majolica Toby jugs described in Fastenau Mullins p308-309. The others in this set are: Standing Man, Snufftaker and Pierrot (see last picture). All were made in both blue and white and full-colour finish.
Ordinary Toby is dressed in typical 18C costume of full-length coat, weskit and cravat, knee breeches, stockings, buckled shoes and a tricorn hat, the corners of which form the spout of the jug. His coat is richly hand decorated in Delft floral designs and one might imagine his lapels and deep cuffs are midnight blue velvet. This French Toby in his Dutch duds seems to have dropped into an English tavern for his pint of ale.
This large and sturdy piece is in very good condition. The deep blue enamel contrasts well with the creamy faience and painting remains crisp and clear. Slight wear to the small projections: tips of jug, mug, shoe and hat. Handle is strong and intact. Interior is clean. No repairs. Unglazed foot rim. Measures 11"H x 5.5"L x 4.25"W. Heavy! Weighs 1.8kg / 3lb 15oz unpacked. Toby is pictured with an egg cup in order to demonstrate his substantial size.
The Toby Jug was born in 1760-70 in Staffordshire out of a tradition of potting figural jugs with a sense of whimsy and humour. The name 'Toby Fillpot' was in common use in the mid-1700s to describe infamous drinkers and was immortalized in Reverend Francis Fawkes' 1761 song The Little Brown Jug. The mezzotint of the rotund and jolly toper sitting with his jug of ale, accompanied by Fawkes' verse, might well have been the original inspiration. Eminent potters Thomas Whieldon or Ralph Wood could have fathered Toby Jug and it was an immediate success. Character jugs for pouring and quaffing ale sprang up in homes and taverns throughout England and the fashion quickly spread overseas. In later centuries, Toby evolved into numerous shapes and characters, culminating in the fine collections produced by companies such as Royal Doulton and Kevin Francis Ceramics in the 20C. The tradition lives on around the world.
David C Fastenau & Stephen M Mullins, 'Toby & Character Jugs of the 20th Century and their Makers' 1999.