Willow Toby Post # 1

Hearty Good Fellow with the Willow Pattern

This toby jug has to be one of my largest toby jugs and is a rare find with the willow pattern on the hat and base. This piece comes in at a little over 11 inches tall. Given the shape and size of this piece, I am guess it was not made for drinking out of, but rather decoration.

I have seen another toby similar to this one with a blue jacket at one of the International Willow Collectors Conventions. These are such neat pieces and are fairly hard to find. Given their rareity, I don’t see one of these gems in any of my willow collector books. I have searched them all!

I did locate one in an article written back in 2002 for the IWC News by my friend Loren Zeller. He too has one with a blue jacket! I have kept that article for the past 18 years and has become my willow toby bible. I should actually laminate it!

This toby shape was used by many manufactures and was painted with various colors and variations of the base. Some actually have a plaque on the front saying “Hearty Good Fellow”. I do have to say though, I am partial to anything with the willow pattern and it must have made these much more marketable.

You will see the brim of his hat has the butterfly border while the base has the traditional border. These were probably the borders used on other items like the rim of a platter with the Two Temples pattern, or the lower border on a traditional willow pattern platter. He typically is standing on a mound of grass and a tree trunk makes up the handle. His hand is holding a pipe and in my case, has suffered some damage and the other hand holding a jug.

I have never seen one with a willow jacket but sure wish I would come across one! This guy dates to between 1880-1910.

While posting on my Blue Willow Treasures Facebook group, someone messaged me and sent me an amazing picture of a book they have on Staffordshire Ware by Kent. They also opened it up and you can see the actual Hearty Good Fellow pattern on the pages! You will also see the standard willow toby jug, which we will get to this week!

The pattern book above shows pattern 373 was that of the Hearty Good Fellow. Later on in the week will touch on a couple of other patterns referenced. How cool is it to see these folks sitting at the table hand painting these items before the glaze was applied? To think one of these ladies in this picture may have touched and put such effort into making my toby jug and to also think it survived all of these years and the travel from the UK astounds me.

Two years ago, my mom and I packed up my SUV and we drove to Nashville, TN for her first every IWC convention. I have always been so blessed the times I have went, and she was also blessed to have been able to go. While I was there, I was asked to speak on toby jugs since I have a pretty good collection of various toby jugs with the willow pattern. I also gave one away in a drawing! Yep it was free!!! Pictures of my display and my pretty momma are below:

One of parts of my presentation was around: how are toby jugs made? I am going to show the link to the video I used in my presentation that I think is a fun way to imagine your toby being made!

Toby Jugs in the making!

I hope you enjoyed the first of a group of posts on willow pattern toby jugs! We will see you soon!!


2 thoughts on “Willow Toby Post # 1

  1. Fascinating! I’ve never seen the Hearty Good Fellow jug you’ve illustrated, though have had lots of the little Willow Toby condiment figures over the years. Another excellent article from you, Christy Sturtevant, thanks!


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