Jugs created by Fenton adapted his impressionistic style and he designed many characters that had a more realistic than stylized appearance.
Trademarks of his work include indented irises to make the eyes more life-like and the use of many wrinkles and blemishes to show the wear of life on his models.
It is easy to identify jugs created in the early production days.
I inherited a Doulton Toby Jug from the 1902-1922 era, with a face on the handle and a floral type pattern on the sides.The base is approx 90mm in diameter, the jug is 6 sided and stands about 160-180 mm in height.The first “character jug” was created by Noke in the 1930’s; it was John Barleycorn. Noke’s love of English literature, song and folklore was strongly apparent in the characters he chose to immortalize in jug form.The first models made by Noke were made of ivory earthenware that was painted in neutral tones and used a yellow over-glaze to highlight features. In 1935 they added a small size that was just over 3 inches tall, a miniature size just over 2 inches tall joined the ranks in 1937, and by 1940, the tiny was also available.On the base of the toby jug is the Royal Doulton crest for the1902-1922 period, with the number 02764 and what appears to be the symbol “p”.
Unfortunately my doulton Toby Jug was destroyed during the Christchurch earthquake on 22 Feb and I am desperately trying to find some idea of its true value.
It was really under the vision of Doulton’s son Henry, that the company started to utilize local artistic talent and change its focus to creating more decorative and collectible items than useful.
Henry opened an artist’s studio in London getting the input and ideas from local artists in the 1860’s.
Unfortunately this dating scheme does not appear to have been in practice for long.
Noke’s assistant in creating the early character jugs was named Harry Fenton.
Yet it was not the traditional style toby jug that brought English manufacturer Royal Doulton notoriety but their own adaptation of these jugs to focus specifically on the face and shoulders.