Dixon & Sons jug with authentication letter, c.1842

Here’s a curious one. I bought this English earthenware pottery jug online many years ago and was pleased to discover that it came with an interesting provenance. It stands 10.5 inch high and is decorated in yellow with Chinoiserie cartouche decorations and floral sprays, over glazed with color washes and gilt trim. It has a Britannia metal lid and a bronze replacement handle, as the original one broke off well over 100 years ago. It is clearly marked on the underside: “PUBLISHED BY JA’S. DIXON & SONS, SHEFFIELD, MARCH 1ST 1842”.

I found a letter rolled up inside of the jug from the manufacturer James Dixon & Sons dated 6th July, 1962, along with a sketch. Here is a transcription of the letter:

“Dear Sir,

We readily identify the earthenware Water Jug from your sketch.

Our records show this and similar jugs were being made and sold by us from 1842 onwards. You could assume the date for yours to be in or near that year.

We have in our possession a Jug as yours.

It is not possible to replace the original handle which was part of the jug. Rough sketch of the handle is enclosed.

These earthenware jugs were specially made for using the Staffordshire Potteries and nowadays they are not obtainable. We fitted the covers which were made from Britannia Metal.

You do not say where you obtained your jug, probably from a second-hand source; on the other hand it may have been in the U.S.A. We did in the past years export them to your country. They are today museum pieces.

We trust we have been of service,

Yours faithfully,

James Dixon & Sons, LTD.”

This identical jug shows what the original handle looked like.

Photo courtesy of Worthpoint

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5 Responses to “Dixon & Sons jug with authentication letter, c.1842”

  1. Amy Quinn says:

    I love doing research on the pieces I own or acquire. This is wonderful you have the letter inside the jug as a reference for pervious ownership and from James Dixon & Sons. Thanks

  2. Reisa George says:

    I have an earthenware water jug from the Staffordshire Potteries as described above. It is in perfect condition. My great aunt gave it to me 50 years ago.
    You mention that it is a museum piece. I may be interested in donating it to a museum. Can you tell the estimated value of this beautiful piece?
    Thank you for your help.
    Reisa George

  3. Hello Reisa,

    Thanks for your message. I am a collector of antiques with early repairs and do not know current values of “perfect” items. I would suggest bringing your tea caddy to local antiques shops or sending images to dealers who have similar items.

    I hope this helps!

    All best,

  4. Gillian King says:

    I have one on these jugs BUT with the original handle! I would like to know whether it is worth anything! It came to me from my father having been passed down, possibly, my great grandfather who was born in 1842!