Antiques Column:Â Henry, known for beingÂ miserable!
Many years ago, before the motor car, electricity and Strictly Come Dancing there lived a manÂ called Henry Elwes. Henry, even amongst his closest friends, had a reputation for being miserable.
He was a short, fat man with dirty lanky hair and he held a record for drinking two thousand pintsÂ of Stingo.
Stingo was very strong ale, but unfortunately there are no records to say how long itÂ took Henry to drink all those pints. It matters not, however, how long it took, the mere fact it wasÂ drunk gave Henry Elwes the nickname Toby Fillpot.
There are many claims to the origin of the Toby jug, but one of the most convincing is that it isÂ based on poor old Toby Fillpot.
This is further backed by the work of a publisher CaringtonÂ Bowles, who in 1761 published illustrations of a short, fat miserable man with lanky hair pokingÂ from a tricorn hat and titled him Toby Fillpot.
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A few years later Toby Jugs began to emerge fromÂ pottery factories.
Shakespeare's Sir Toby Belch from 'Twelfth Night', who in the play is portrayed as an excessiveÂ drinker, is thought by some to be the source of the famous jug, but he just doesn't have the portlyÂ misery of Mr Fillpot.
As time passed and more jugs were made, the grim face of Toby cheered up a little, particularly inÂ examples like 'The Sailor' and 'Hearty Good Fellow'.
The name, though, stuck, even whenÂ famous faces such as Winston Churchill appeared on these jugs, they remained Toby Jugs.