The World's Ugliest Jugs

This crying clown toby jug seems on the verge of murdering someone.
This crying clown toby jug seems on the verge of murdering someone.

Stories abound about the origin of the toby jug. It was supposedly named after Toby Fillpot, an 18th-century British drinker whose real name was Harold Elwes. His claim to fame was that he had downed over 2,000 gallons of "strong ale" at his local pub. Some say his drinking name of Toby was filched from the Shakespeare character Toby Belch.

Sometime in the early 19th century, the English potter Royal Doulton began making a commemorative mug of an incredibly ugly guy with a tri-corner hat and an alcohol-scarred visage it christened the "Toby Jug." One poured from a corner of the hat, which served as a spout.

These jugs caused a sensation in the 19th century in both England and America, emblazoned with all sorts of figures, whose only common feature was their extreme ugliness. Although these vessels were usable as mugs or pitchers, depending on size, they were usually merely displayed in cupboards and on sideboards, and eventually became collector's items, often auctioned at high prices. Beginning in the 20th century, the form was used for commemorative figures. In the modern era, these have included the Beatles and Winston Churchill.

So, if you dare, come with us now into the Fork in the Road virtual museum of the world's ugliest jugs.

The original toby jugs made by Royal Doulton showed Toby Fillpot, drink in one hand, cane (or cudgel) in the other.
The original toby jugs made by Royal Doulton showed Toby Fillpot, drink in one hand, cane (or cudgel) in the other.
Other drunken guys from a later era eventually served as subject matter.
Other drunken guys from a later era eventually served as subject matter.
While this guy isn't drunk yet, he's clearly on the way.
While this guy isn't drunk yet, he's clearly on the way.
Not sure this guy is drunk, but he sure is ugly!
Not sure this guy is drunk, but he sure is ugly!
And she's no beauty, either. One of the rare female-figured jugs.
And she's no beauty, either. One of the rare female-figured jugs.

Next: It gets worse!

 

This drunken sot looks vaguely familiar.
This drunken sot looks vaguely familiar.
Continuing with the theme of extreme ugliness, here's the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland ...
Continuing with the theme of extreme ugliness, here's the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland ...
And here's Pavarotti.
And here's Pavarotti.
Who knows what this plug-ugly is smoking in his pipe?
Who knows what this plug-ugly is smoking in his pipe?
Argh, a pirate ...
Argh, a pirate ...
And a pig.
And a pig.

Next: The four ugliest toby jugs of all.

 

The World's Ugliest Jugs

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