What is a Character Jug or a Toby Jug?

We sell many different Royal Doulton pieces at auction including character jugs and Toby jugs. Get in touch if you are looking for something in particular, or if you are looking to sell at auction.

Royal Doulton have produced character jugs since the early 1900s, where a character jug features the head and shoulders of a figure, and a Toby jug traditionally will display the entire body of a character.

Royal Doulton started to produce character jugs in the early 1900s, but production increased in the 1930s following on from the success of Charles Nokes’ Kingsware series that proved very popular.

Stoneware and earthenware character jugs have become collectable with characters from Charles Dickens characters and subjects from film and literature proving very popular including Old Charley, Sairey Gamp, Tony & Sam Weller, Pecksniff, Fat Boy, Micawber and Buzz Fuzz. These jugs were so popular that they were produced until 1960 in 5 different sizes from large 7 inch jugs to tiny 1.5 inch vessels.

Royal Doulton Clint Eastwood and Clark Gable character jugs sold by Potteries Auctions

Lot 535 - A Royal Doulton small prototype Clint Eastwood character jug, sold for £1450, and Lot 536 - A Royal Doulton rare large Clark Gable character jug, sold for £900, as part of our Two Day Auction of Rare 20th Century British Pottery, collectors items, jewellery, & antiques on 14 March 2020.

New designers were subsequently brought in to model new collecting trends with designers and modellers such as David Biggs, Max Henk, William Harper, Harry Simeon, Leslie Harradine and Robert Tabbinor. While a character jug is a model of a face and a toby jug is a study/model of a complete character, they are equally popular either way.

The market for jugs now is still huge, where collectors from around the world still compete for rare examples that come up for sale, such as prototypes or colour variations on popular designs.  Many examples like these are still very much sought after and can still sell for high prices at auction.

Royal Doulton Mephistopheles and Ring Master character jugs, sold by Potteries Auctions

Lot 495 - A Royal Doulton large size Mephistopheles character jug with verse, sold for £420, and Lot 500 - A Royal Doulton large The Ring Master character jug, sold for £70, as part of our Two Day Auction of Rare 20th Century British Pottery, collectors items, jewellery, & antiques on 14 March 2020.

If you have some Royal Doulton character jugs or Toby Jugs that you would like to auction, get in touch and we can help you with a valuation.  Talk to our team of experts who will be able to give you an accurate auction estimate on Toby Jugs and other Royal Doulton pieces.  You can join us at one of our valuation days, email us for an appointment [email protected]  or call us on +44 (0)1782 638100 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. 

Email Valuations

If you can't come in and see us in person send us an email to [email protected] with details and a photograph (eg make, model, model number, measurements, condition) and one of our experts will provide information and auction estimates. Alternatively, give us a call on 01782 638100 to arrange an appointment.

Go back