Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Staffordshire (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca.1844 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Parian ware

  • Credit Line:

    Richard Vincent Hughes Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This Parian ware jug features raised images of famous Shakespearean characters including Shylock, Lady Macbeth, Juliet, and Hamlet, as well as Shakespeare himself. Plays by Shakespeare were very popular during the 19th century, especially after stars such as Sarah Siddons, John Philip Kemble and Edmund Kean had triumphed in some of the greatest roles.

Parian ware, introduced in the 1840s as a development of the earlier biscuit porcelain, enjoyed a great vogue in the second half of the 19th century because of its marble-like appearance. It allowed middle-class Victorians to decorate their parlours with busts, boxes, vases and jugs which were reminiscent of classical art and conferred on their owners the status of collectors. Several firms made Parian ware - both statuary Parian for busts and statuettes, and standard Parian to make hollow-ware such as this jug. Minton's firm coined the term 'Parian' in 1845 to suggest Paros, the Greek island that provided much of the stone used in the Classical period.

Physical description

Parian ware jug with decoratively shaped handle and relief moulded decoration on each side showing Shakespearean characters including Shylock, Hamlet, Lady Macbeth and Juliet, Shakespeare and a boy wearing a short tunic, cloak and boots, standing in arches around the jug. Beneath the lip of the jug is the moulded face of a bearded man, and cherubs appear at central points under the rim of the jug at the front and back.

Place of Origin

Staffordshire (probably, made)


ca.1844 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Parian ware


Height: 20.5 cm At tallest point, from base to lip of spout, Diameter: 11.2 cm of round base, Width: 16.2 cm from lip of jug to the back of the handle

Descriptive line

Glazed earthenware jug decorated with moulded images of Shakespearean characters. Staffordshire, c.1844.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

The Parian Phenomenon, a Survey of Victorian Parian Porcelain Statuary & Busts, published by Richard Dennis, 1989.


Entertainment & Leisure; Containers; Parian ware


Theatre and Performance Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.