John Bull toby jug produced by Bretby Art Pottery of Derbyshire, England, circa 1950. John Bull is the national personification of England popularized by Scottish writer Dr. John Arbuthnot in 1712 in a series of pamphlets advocating the end of the war of the Spanish Succession. These were later republished as the "History of John Bull", portraying him as an honest, jolly, plain-dealing, hot-tempered farmer. By the 1800s, however, "Punch" cartoonist Sir John Tenniel had transformed him into a dignified gentleman. While he is sometimes used to refer to the whole of Britain, he has never been widely accepted in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. As a literary figure, John Bull is well-intentioned, frustrated, full of common sense and entirely of native country stock. Bull is usually portrayed as a stout man in a tailcoat with breeches and a Union Jack waistcoat, wearing a low topper on his head and often accompanied by a bulldog. This jug is an advertising piece for John Haig's Glenleven Whisky. When the famous whisky dynasty of John Haig & Co decided to launch a vatted malt, it hit on the name Glenleven. Old labels from the 1960s simply mentioned that it was a "finest vatted malt Scotch whisky", usually with a 12- or 8-years-old age statement. By the 1980s it had been repackaged in olive green colors and sometimes called itself a Highland malt.
Bretby Art Pottery