Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Two Tobys

A Toby Jug
A Toby Dog
Toby Dog, again

A Toby Jug - also sometimes known as a Fillpot (or Philpot) - is a pottery jug in the form or head of a  of a recognizable person.  Traditionally, the figure was a heavy-set, jovial man holding a mug of beer in one hand and a pipe of tobacco in the other and wearing 18th century attire: a long coat and a tricorn hat. The tricorn hat formed a pouring spout and a handle was attached to the back of the figure.

England is know for its Toby Jugs which were first made by Staffordshire potters in the 1760s.  Shortly after, similar designs were produced by other potteries, first in Staffordshire, then around England. There are a few theories as to the origin of the name "Toby Jug".  Some say the jugs were named after the character of Sir Toby Belch, an intoxicated, jovial man in Shakespeare's play, Twelfth Night.  Others are convinced the jugs were named after a notorious 18th century Yorkshire drinker, Henry Elwes, who was known as "Toby Fillpot" (or Philpot). Still others believe the name was inspired by an old English drinking song, "The Brown Jug", which paid tribute to Toby Fillpot and was first published in 1761.  Whatever the true reason or reasons, the Toby Jug it is and shall remain.

But the other Toby, the dog,is a much more recent entity.  Toby is a two to three month old Shih Tzu puppy recently adopted by a friend.  Toby (short for Tobias) means "God is good" in Hebrew and this Toby lives up to his name.  He is a snugly, adorable canine family member oh  so easy to love (something I can personally attest to from experience).  Take care of your mistress, Toby dog.

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