The toby form, traditionally a seated figure holding a mug and a pipe and wearing a tricorn hat, was introduced into English pottery in the mid-eighteenth century. Widely manufactured and popular into the nineteenth century, the toby jug was first produced at the Bennington factory in the late 1840s. The firm made several models of bust-length pitchers as well as this full-length seated figure, all with Rockingham-style glazes. The form was also adapted to create small covered match safes (see B.57.16). While most examples bear the Lyman, Fenton mark, this one is unusual in bearing the mark more commonly seen on scroddled wares.

MARKS: UNITED STATES / POTTERY CO. / BENNINGTON, Vt. (impressed on underside; BARRET 1958, p. 14, fig. Xh).

DESCRIPTION: Seated toby figure holds a goblet. Crabstock handle and terminal (flowering vine). Chocolate brown mottled glaze on cream body.

RELATED EXAMPLES: PMA (Spargo 1969, pl. XI); a scroddled example: Philadelphia: Three Centuries of American Art. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976. ; (Barret 1958, p. 318, pl. 415); a Rockingham example (Barret 1958, p. 319, pl. 416e): Barret, Richard Carter. Bennington Pottery and Porcelain: A Guide to Identification. New York: Bonanza Books, 1958.

1. The name is thought to be derived from Toby Philpot, the subject of a song “The Brown Jug’' published in 1761. Toby Philpot was the nickname for Harry Elwes, a celebrated toper (Savage and Newman 1976, p. 293).

2. Rockingham glaze is a rich, brown glaze, sometimes mottled with yellow, blue, and orange. The glaze was first introduced at the English pottery of the Marquess of Rockingham in the 1820s and was often used on pottery made in Bennington, Vermont. The term is now used to describe any rich, brown glaze.

Book excerpt: Warren, David B., Michael K. Brown, Elizabeth Ann Coleman, and Emily Ballew Neff. American Decorative Arts and Paintings in the Bayou Bend Collection. Houston: Princeton Univ. Press, 1998.

Cataloguing data may change with further research.

If you have questions about this work of art or the MFAH Online Collection please contact us.

Lyman, Fenton & Co., American, 1849–1852
or United States Pottery Company, American, 1852–1858
Toby Jug
c. 1849–1858
Lead-glazed earthenware with flint glaze
6 1/2 × 3 1/2 × 5 1/2 in. (16.5 × 8.9 × 14 cm)
Credit Line

The Bayou Bend Collection, gift of Miss Ima Hogg

Current Location
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
Accession Number

Acquired by Miss Ima Hogg on June 15, 1957 from Whimsy Antiques, Arlington VT