Tam O’Shanter Jug, 1835

This cream relief-moulded Tam O’Shanter jug and pewter lid, was manufactured by William Ridgway in Stoke on Trent, England, from 1 October 1835. I have seen examples—usually without their lid—in pale shades of blue, brown, green, yellow, cream and white. I have also seen another jug, a companion piece, of Tam O’Shanter and Souter Johnnie (see pictures here and here).

The jug depicts, in shallow relief, two scenes from Burns’s poem. The first is from the start of the poem, when Tam O’Shanter and Souter Johnnie are drinking; the second is from the end of the poem, where Tam is being chased by a “winsome wench” (Nannie, a young witch) in a “cutty sark” (a short smock, or negligee). Tam races for the bridge (since a witch can’t cross running water): Nannie was “so close at his heels, that [she] actually sprung to seize him: but it was too late; nothing was on her side of the stream but the horse’s tail, which immediately gave way to her infernal grip, as if blasted by a stroke of lightning.” (This is Burns’s prose explanation of 1790; for full details of the poem, see here).

Tam, Souter Johnnie and Nannie were depicted many times (in paintings, illustrations to books, pot-lids, postcards etc), and I have done quite a few posts on this blog concerning the various ways in which Nannie has been depicted—including this shallow relief ivorex panel from 1910—but this is the earliest by about two decades.

5 Responses to “Tam O’Shanter Jug, 1835”

  1. The Tam ‘o Shanter poem usually has some very nice imagery when illustrated in book of famous poems.I have a nice one done in watercolours. I also have a marvelous book of truly unusual watercolours illustrating the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Any chance of pics from Tam ‘o Shanter?

  2. ‘Twould be a lovely jug from which to serve ale at the Sabbat, eh?

  3. Would you please consider selling the jug? We are 3 kids with one jug that has a lot of happy memories .How to divide one jug… I think buying another 2 will be a good solution. Let me know?

  4. redwitch1 Says:

    These turn up pretty regularly on eBay. If you set up a search it won’t take long to get another two. RW

  5. armando ferrigno Says:

    Hi there. I just noticed your comment regarding the jugs. My father has had a set of these in the house for many years. There are 2 of them in a sort of beige colour. They are the ones without lids. If you are interested in buying them you could let me know as I recall he said he would consider selling them . Feel free to contact me at my email. armando_ferrigno@hotmail.com. Cheers

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