In England, the tradition of jugs or pitchers in the shape of human
figures dates back to the eighteenth century. These drinking vessels became
popular and referred to as Toby Jugs. It
is said that they received this name after a song about a character known as
“Toby Philpot” which was popular in 1761.
In 1933, Charles J. Noke developed a new type of figural jugs, that
became known as “Toby jugs”. The pitcher (jug)
was made of a the head and
shoulders rather than a full-figure. Noke designed a series of jugs , each of
whom depicted a famous person or character in English history, literature, and
song. The first jugs were of Old Charley
( night watchman )and John Barleycorn (personification of
whiskey). Other initial modelers were Leslie Harradine, Harry Fenton,
Max Henk, and David Brian Biggs.
The character figure is modeled, a mode is constructed, clay is poured
into the mold, which is dried. Then the mold is fired, decorated several times
and fired over and over again. From the late 1967 to 1971 the character jugs
made of fine china, English Translucent China (ETC) rather than earthenware. These jugs have a translucent body rather
then the finish of earthenware. Because of the associated shrinkage, the
resultant jugs were smaller in size, especially the larger jugs. Another tip is
the ETC jugs are translucent (if the base of the jug is held to a bright light
and a finger is runs across the base, a shadow of the finger is detected
through the base of the ETC). Alternatively by placing a light bulb inside
the jug the ETC jug will glow and the earthenware will not.
The jugs were made in several sizes:
· Extra-large version –
only Tony Weller 6.25”
· Large -
5.25” – 7”
· Small - 3.25”- 4”
· Miniature- 2.25” –
· Tiny – 1.25” or
less ( discontinued in 1960 )
Each character jug has a name that is molded into the back of the jug.
The earliest versions made the terms "potted by
(followed by the initials of the artist)”. The HD number is usually
hand-written on the bottom as well.
The Royal Doulton Lion and Crown trademark was used on Toby jugs made
between 1919-1925. In the early 1930’s the trademark was used an-0- to one side. Also included was the mark “Made in England”
( mid-1930’s ).
From 1934, the Lion and Crown “Made in England” trademark was used with a U.K. patent office
registration number underneath or “Registration applied for”. Typically , the registration was guaranteed a
year before its release.
Between 1934 and World War II, some jugs were marked with a handwritten D
number, which is usually found on the bottom.
Beginning with the 1930’s through the 1940’s , some character jugs had a
date code giving of year of manufacture. This number is found is located to the
right of the Lion and Crown trademark. The numbering system began in 1928 so
the numeral “9” denotes 1937.
From the late 1930’s until around 1955 the name of the character jug
generally appeared in inverted commas. In
the 1940’s ,the backstamp on the tiny
character jugs omitted the Lion and Crown mark due to the space constraints.
Earlier jugs were marked with an
“A”. Although there are several explanations,
the Royal Doulton factory explains it was a factory-control mark used during
production to indicate wares to go to a certain kiln, the Georgian kiln.. The A
mark was used between 1939 and 1955 according to Kovel ( The Kovels’ Illustrated
Price Guide to Royal Doulton.,1980). According to Mullins and Fastenau ( A Century
of Royal Doulton Character & Toby Jugs, 2008) the date was 1939-1956.
In 1950’s some jugs were marked three registration numbers. From 1952 the
D pattern number began to be printed rather than handwritten by the painter. One or
more small marks are noted on the bottom through 1950 that seem to denote the
artist(s) who was responsible for that particular individual jug. They appear
as black dots, red lines or dots, gold lines, and on the earlier jugs,
initials. One or more small marks are noted on the bottom through 1950 that
seem to denote the painter(s) who was responsible for that particular
individual jug, a mark of pride in their work.
The words “Reg. applied for” or a single registered design number appear
on the early jugs. The next chance was
the printed name of the jug appeared inside quotation marks.
About 1950 , the factory began using the registered design numbers with
the lion and crown trademark and the D number. Some small jugs due to the
limited space marked with the words “Royal Doulton, Made in England”.
In 1960, new copyright laws meant that multiple registration numbers
could phased out. By 1973 the registration numbers had been replaced on most
character jugs by copyright notice and the date.
As all of the character mugs/jugs and Toby jugs offered here were packed
away 1972 and carefully stored until 2011, the later changes to them do not
apply. The reader is referred to an excellent book by Stephen M. Mullins and
David C. Fastenau with Louise Irvine, A
Century of Royal Doulton Character & Toby Jugs . Schiffer Publishing Ltd.,