Royal Doulton Character and Toby Jugs

A Century of Royal Doulton Character & Toby Jugs.
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Toby and Character Jugs

Toby & Character Jugs of the 20th Century.
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DEFINITION / TOBY & CHARACTER JUGS

What is a Toby Jug?

A Toby Jug is a figural ceramic pitcher modeled in the form of a popular character, historical, fictional or generic. It can be a person or animal. The original Tobies date back to the 1760's. The first Tobies, made in the form of a seated jovial, stout man dressed in the attire of the period, wearing a tri-corn hat, puffing on a pipe and holding a mug of ale (stingo), are referred to as "Ordinary Tobies." The tricorn hat forms a pouring spout and a handle is attached to the rear. Many derivations of the original Toby Jug have evolved over two and one-half centuries, most notably into the Character Jug (see below).

Is it a Jug or a Mug?

Jugs are used for pouring; mugs are used for drinking. To determine if a piece is a jug or a mug, look at the top rim. If the opening has a spout, it’s a jug. If not, it’s a mug.

Toby Jugs versus Character Jugs

The Toby Jug is defined as a jug or pitcher in the form of a full-bodied character, while a Character Jug comprise(s) only the head or face, and often shoulders

Wherefrom comes the name Toby?

There are competing theories for the origin of the name "Toby Jug". It was named after the character of Sir Toby Belch in Shakespeare's play, Twelfth Night. It comes from the French word "tope" – to drink hard (i.e. Tope, Toper, Toby). Most likely, it was named after a notorious 18th century Yorkshire drinker, Henry Elwes, who was known as "Toby Fillpot" (or Philpot) and was inspired by an old English drinking song, "The Brown Jug", which paid tribute to Toby Fillpot, whose ashes were made into Toby's jug; the popular verses were first published in 1761.