Staffordshire Toby Jug of a seated Shylock

Language of Description
Alt. Identifiers
  • 2016.184.18
1 Jan 1951 - 31 Dec 1982
Level of Description
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

overall: Height: 8.250 inches (20.955 cm) | Width: 5.125 inches (13.018 cm) | Depth: 7.125 inches (18.098 cm)


Biographical History

The Katz Ehrenthal Collection is a collection of more than 900 objects depicting Jews and antisemitic and anti-Jewish propaganda from the medieval to the modern era, in Europe, Russia, and the United States. The collection was amassed by Peter Ehrenthal, a Romanian Holocaust survivor, to document the pervasive history of anti-Jewish hatred in Western art, politics and popular culture. It includes crude folk art as well as pieces created by Europe's finest craftsmen, prints and periodical illustrations, posters, paintings, decorative art, and toys and everyday household items decorated with depictions of stereotypical Jewish figures.

Archival History

The pitcher was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2016 by the Katz Family.


United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Katz Family

Funding Note: The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Scope and Content

Toby jug depicting Shylock from Shakespeare's play, The Merchant of Venice. It was manufactured by the Staffordshire company, H. Wain & Sons Ltd. Toby jugs were first made in the mid-18th century and are ceramic pitchers modeled on popular characters. Shylock has a large nose, thick eyebrows, hooded eyes and a long beard; all stereotypical physical features attributed to Jewish men. Jews were expelled from England in 1290, making it unlikely that Shakespeare ever met a Jewish person, and he likely based Shylock on longstanding antisemitic stereotypes. In the play, Shylock is a Jewish moneylender who demands a pound of flesh as recompense from a merchant who failed to repay a loan. Although some scenes make him a sympathetic character and show how society and his Christian enemies cruelly mistreat him, in the end, he is punished and forced to convert to Christianity. The play was extremely popular in Nazi Germany, with fifty productions between 1933 and 1939. The Ministry of Propaganda created edited versions of the play that removed scenes and lines that evoked sympathy for Shylock or Jews. The Nazis used Shylock to promote Jewish inferiority by making him emblematic of the Jewish race’s perceived wickedness. These versions ignored the ambiguity Shylock was originally infused with, and portrayed him as an avaricious and vengeful character that was grotesque and inhuman. Despite the stereotypical and anti-Jewish elements, the play remains popular and continues to spark debates over whether it should be considered antisemitic. This pitcher is one of more than 900 items in the Katz Ehrenthal Collection of antisemitic artifacts and visual materials.

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions on access

Conditions Governing Reproduction

No restrictions on use

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Colorful, glazed, ceramic pitcher modeled in the form of a seated man in a high, wing-backed chair. The man has a large and protruding nose, full red lips, thick eyebrows, hooded eyes, and a long gray beard with a drooping mustache. He is seated in a light pink armchair with his elbows resting on the arms of the chair as he leans forward slightly and clasps his hands together just below his chin. He wears a light green shawl, dark purple gown, a black cap, and dark pink slippers with curled toes. A gold-colored, drawstring pouch rests on his lap. His cap is open on the top forming the mouth of the pitcher, with a slight point at the front to serve as a spout. The dark pink, D-shaped handle is formed from an extension of the chair back and a portion of his shawl. The man’s name is impressed on the underside, and the manufacturer’s information is stamped at the center in faded blue ink. There is some discoloration from use, as well as adhesive residue and a partial sticker on the underside.




This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.