A large earthenware moulded jug with the ‘Babes in the Wood’ design. It has an attractive two-tone treacleware glaze over a pale buff body. The handle is crabstock.
The ‘Babes in the Wood’ story, about two small children who are abandoned in the woods and eventually die, was first published as an anonymous broadside in 1595. There have been many adaptations of the story since then, including a pantomime. This jug was made to cater to the Victorians’ interest in such morality tales.
The moulded design for this jug is based on a painting by J. H. Benwell and was copied by Bradbury, Anderson & Brettany, and Cork & Edge. A parian version was made by Samuel Alcock & Co. circa 1845 or 1847. The Cork & Edge versions date to circa 1850-1860. The maker of the treacleware version is currently unknown.
References: A Collector’s Guide to Nineteenth-Century Jugs Vol. I & II, Kathy Hughes (1985 & 1991).
An Illustrated Guide to British Jugs, R. K. Henrywood (1997).