If you take a meander around the internet, you can often come across the term 'Old Charley' and, if you are anything like me, wondered about the derivation of the name.
In my case, I was searching for a possible explanation as to why the miniature character jug, below, made by the Artone Pottery, has two identical faces on each side of the jug.
At first I thought the characters were some reference to Janus, (after the Roman god of beginnings, gates, transition, endings), with the two faces: looking to the future and the past.
After a little more searching, I think they are a caricature of ‘Old Charley, possibly named after the Georgian night watchmen, the ‘Charlies’ or ‘Charleys’, who are also associated with the notorious 18th Century character ‘Charles Hitchen,’ a hireling or ‘thief-taker,’ (private policeman) who coined the expression ‘Set a thief to catch a thief,’ which may also explain the two faces on the character jugs.
These miniature pottery jugs are identically and beautifully decorated with 'Old Charley' on both sides. They date to approximately the 1940s and were produced at a similar time to Royal Doulton's Old Charley Toby Jugs.
The jugs were manufactured by Artone, a pottery based in Burslem, Staffordshire, UK, in the 1940s. Artone was founded by Bob Hardman, and brothers George and Jack Lawton along with their wives Irene and Frances. They trained at Doulton before the Second World War, and founded the company in 1946 on the Ellgreave Pottery site. Originally called Manton, (from Hardman and Lawton), but renamed to Artone after complaints from Minton. They sold the company in the late 1970s.
So there you have it, Artone doesn't really have a direct connection with 'Old Charley,' but they did produce quite a range of jugs using his caricature!
Please click on the following link for Artone Pottery