Boer War Page 91j

Rare Boer War Discoveries

More key items the Canadian Boer War Museum has added to its collections in its ongoing efforts to preserve important Canadian heritage memorabilia from this period.

Lot of 11 Jugs Sold for $24,519 US
at Auction Shrewsbury, Shropshire UK
July 19, 2006

Someone is missing... Guess who?

Wilkinson Carruthers Gould Toby Jugs 1915-1920

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Carruthers Gould, Lord Kitchener, 1915
Orig. ceramic toby jug - Size - 26 cm
Found - Toronto, ON
Signed Carruthers Gould (& initialled FCS), Wilkinson England, Royal Staffordshire Pottery, Soane & Smith

Sir Francis Carruthers Gould 1844-1925:

Probably the most magnificent memorabilia ceramic items ever made were the 11 Toby jugs of World War I political and military leaders crafted between 1915-20 by Wilkinson after designs by Sir Francis Carruthers Gould (right)

Thirty years before, the very same FC Gould, had drawn the cartoon which had inspired the Paul Kruger "Transvaal Money Box" in 1885. Gould was the first political cartoonist ever hired by a British daily newspaper, the Pall Mall Budget in 1888. He also was a cartoonist for the Westminster Gazette where his Kruger cartoon had first appeared.

Paul Kruger, the President of the Transvaal (South African) Republic, in the 1880s and 90s, was an object of derision in Britain but the symbol of proud independence among all the "little people" around the world who stood up for their rights against the mightiest political and military power in the world. When the Boer War broke out, Kruger was Public Enemy #1 in the British Empire and his money box wildly popular.
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Carruthers Gould Transvaal President Paul Kruger Money Box, c 1900
Orig. cast iron - Size - 15 cm, wt 1.2kg
Found - Dundas, ON
Signed "By permission of the proprietors of the Westminster Gazelie" on back. Mechanical, movable pipe.
Canadian journalists mimicked their British counterparts and wrote articles about how ugly a man Kruger was. Soon Canadian mothers were warning their children to, "Go to sleep now, or Oom Paul Kruger will get you!" Gould's Kruger money boxes became as popular in Canada as anywhere else in the Empire. At the time, Canada was populated overwhelmingly - in the non-French-Canadian areas - with recent immigrants of British stock. During the Boer War - and a few short years later during World War I - they saw their destiny as "One with Britain," and Britain's enemies as their own. And Carruthers Gould's toby jugs found welcoming parlours in Canadian homes as well.

The Wilkinson Toby Jugs 1915-1920:

These toby jugs are a stupendously glorious creation that makes the ubiquitous decorator Royal Doultons, and other Staffordshires, slink away with embarrassment. The colours are deep and glow wondrously; the cartoon stylizations are wonderfully humorous; the faces are amazingly lifelike and true to character.

Looking at Gould's photo, and his creations, one gets the feeling that he sought, not to make light of his subjects, but to connect us to their core as human beings, all the while inviting us not to take their fancy titles, and stations in life, too seriously. As a pioneer of "picture politics," he gives us more than a glimpse of that wonderfully elegant British sense of humour that was a worthy precursor to the sacred cow bashing of the Monty Python television troupe that did the same thing fifty years later, with moving pictures.

The Production Run: Only 150 complete sets were possible because the smallest run was of 150 jugs of WWI General Louis Botha, (right) - yes that's right, the former Boer War general, the victor of Colenso and Spion Kop, and the first Premier of the Union of South Africa. But now he's holding a cup brimming over with Loyalty. Only a handful of complete sets of 11 jugs remain. Rare is the lucky individual who has all 11. It is such a select club that many actually know who has the entire set and in which country they live!!!

But whatever collector has any of them, regardless of whatever else they collect, they consider the Gould tobies the center piece of their collection.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Carruthers Gould
General John French, 1917
Orig. ceramic toby jug - Size - 26 cm
Found - Leicester, UK

Signed Carruthers Gould (& initialled FCS), Wilkinson England, Royal Staffordshire Pottery, Soane & Smith

Lord Kitchener: The Lord Kitchener toby (top) was the first jug produced in 1915, and was limited to 250 copies. Kitchener also happens to have been the commanding general in South Africa during the final years of the Boer War. In World War I he became Secretary of War, the prime architect responsible for organizing Britain to conduct a successful war against the Central Powers led by Kaiser William II of Germany. He was doing it too, and would shortly be off on the cruiser Hampshire to visit the Czar of Russia and his generals to convince them to maintain the Eastern "Russian" Front against the enemy. Hence Gould has him holding a bowl of "Bitter for the Kaiser."

But the Kaiser had the last laugh. In June 1916 this esteemed British soldier was lost off the north coast of Scotland when the cruiser HMS Hampshire, went down after hitting a German mine leaving only two or three survivors.

Field Marshall John French: The second jug produced - in another lot of 250 - featured another famous Boer War General, John French right, who had made his reputation as the cavalry commander in that war below.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Vanity Fair Print, General John French, 1900
Orig. lithograph - Size - 8" x 14"
Found - Queenstown, MD
Signed GDG, Pub. Vanity Fair, July 12, 1900, "The Cavalry Division"

Believing that he could "ride" his way to victory again and also win the next war, French had been made Commander-in-chief of the British Army in France. Gould captures this sentiment wonderfully with his "French Pour les Français" medicine pot, in the General's hands.

But all involved were decidedly lacking "horse sense"; horse liniment would not cure the beast this time. The choice was disastrous for British arms and men, because the premise to the appointment was wrong, not the man.

For centuries indeed, the horse had won wars; it made cavalrymen the smuggest members of the military in every country. But it was not the horse that won the Boer War, but the concept behind it - increasing mobility. The British only turned things around against the wily Boer because they recognized - long after the Boers had - that the only way to wage a successful modern war and catch their fast moving enemy was to mount the British infantrymen on horses to make them just as quick as their quarry. Capturing lots of territory and holding it with infantrymen was not proving effective anymore because the "territory" kept moving on them - the Boer fighters, as well as the wives and the kids who nurtured and supplied them with sustenance and war material.

But British military strategists - hampered in no small measure by the deeply ingrained traditional British love affair with the horse - were slow to take it all in properly. So it is no surprise that, after dismissing French, they chose badly - again.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Carruthers Gould
Field Marshall Douglas Haig, 1917
Orig. ceramic toby jug - Size - 27 cm
Found - Leicester, UK

Signed Carruthers Gould (& initialled FCS), Wilkinson England, Royal Staffordshire Pottery, Soane & Smith

Field Marshall Douglas Haig: British strategists didn't want to let go of the Boer War "French magic" entirely, when he was ultimately dismissed because the war was going badly with him at the helm, in 1915.

So they picked to succeed him - who else - his right hand man during the Boer War, and his chief of staff during the cavalry campaign - Douglas Haig. Perhaps, military "intelligence" thought, picking the younger man with the magic would do the trick.

But Haig was also - like his mentor - a "horse" man at heart. Gould has really given him the unkindest cut of all by mounting him on top of the latest technological advancement in warfare, the tank. Haig would clearly have preferred being seated, for posterity, on a horse. Now the artist has him squatting, for all time, atop a smelly, noisy, and decidedly unromantic mechanical monstrosity.

"This is not war!" one can hear Haig blustering. "I can remember when we rode across the veldt in glorious thousands, pennants flying, bugles calling... Charging through the Boers at Abon Dam! Five thousand horsemen! Relieved, in one stroke, the siege of Kimberley, and hardly lost a man. It was glorious! It was magnificent! But this smoking collection of creaking tin cans, is an abomination, not worthy of man or beast." One can hear him rephrasing French General Bosquet after Balaklava, "It is warfare; but it is not magnificent!"

Perhaps, in a further sly aside Carruthers Gould has put an airplane propeller up his backside, perhaps suggesting that Haig was behind in harnessing modern technology - the noisy, coughing airplane was just beginning to make its mark in the war - and needed a boost in the derrière... to update his outmoded ideas on how to win modern wars.

Actually Haig is sitting on the key to success in modern warfare, but he doesn't know it. It was not the horse before; it is not the tank now. It is mobility, by whatever means. In the short term, the tank turned the war around for the allies and cavalry regiments became tank units - horses with armour plating for protection against machine gun fire. In the next war the airplane, already showing promise, transformed the mobility principle to a new high, sounding the death knell for the nineteenth century's main engines of war: the horse and the battleship. Even a century later the principal fighting ship of World War II - the aircraft carrier - remains little more than a garage and launching platform for airplanes of all kinds. Haig would never have believed it; certainly he never foresaw it.

In the later war the German military strategists grasped the "mobility principle" and would extend this concept into Blitzkrieg, still largely on the tank model in concert with attack planes and bombers. The Japanese would do the same at sea, by developing a carrier, instead of a battleship fleet, and using its highly mobile air arm to deal an unexpected, and devastating naval defeat on the mightiest military power in the world at the US's Battleship Row at Pearl Harbour.

This toby jug does not summarize the rightful military legacy for Douglas Haig. He should really be shown perched atop a mound of British and Canadian corpses. As much as his mentor, French, this Victorian soldier kept, far too long, to the old style method of fighting a war, technological advances be damned. He thoughtlessly sent hundreds of thousands of men to a futile death because he believed the key to victory was still with lots of men charging, in groups, against enemy lines, machine guns notwithstanding. Just send more men.

Think "Butcher Haig" every time you read the dozens of names on the First World War cenotaphs in every small Canadian town. His tactics are largely responsible for killing some 750,000 British men, leaving 160,000 British women widows, and 300,000 children without fathers.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Carruthers Gould
David Lloyd George, 1917
Orig. ceramic toby jug - Size - 26 cm
Found - Leicester, UK

Signed Carruthers Gould (& initialled FCS), Wilkinson England, Royal Staffordshire Pottery, Soane & Smith

Prime Minister David Lloyd George: DavidLloyd George was Britain's Prime Minister during most of World War I (1916-1922). As a Welshman and MP in the House, he had been the conscience of Britain during the Boer War 1899-1902, vehemently opposing that conflict on many grounds. As a populist and pacifist he was the Best of Britain playing Devil's Advocate in an age dominated by privilege and war mongering.

He thundered that Government ministers were lying about starting a war to extend the franchise to the Uitlanders - the British guest workers in the Boer Republics in South Africa - saying bluntly that what they were really after was the "45% dividends" from the gold field stock certificates, not ballots. What hypocrisy to allegedly start a war over voting rights in South Africa when Britain itself did not even have universal male suffrage... And war expenditure was a gross abuse when the social safety net for common British workers and their families was a generation behind that of Germany.

He directly accused the Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain for complicity in war profiteering since his family munitions manufacturing company received many lucrative government contracts.

He also loudly denounced the British generals for ruthlessly neglecting their own wounded after battles, and for the deaths of so many Boer women and children. And he denounced the cost of the war for killing when thousands of British workers and their families were living in dire poverty in the industrial and mining towns.

He anti-war speechifying almost got him lynched in Birmingham, only escaping by posing as a policeman.

In 1905 he was brought into the Government as a cabinet minister and founded the modern British welfare state by introducing old age pensions, unemployment insurance, and state support for the sick and infirm, though he was bitterly opposed in all this by the members of the landed gentry in the British House of Lords.

Lloyd George was a pacifist till war broke out in 1914, when he came on side. He became Prime Minister in 1916, taking Britain through the rest of the war. He wanted Germany to be punished for the cost of the war but he was a voice of moderation compared to the French who wanted Germany crushed absolutely.

To those who think the Shell above reflects his war service, it could also be Carruthers-Gould's sly reminder that Lloyd George was accused of selling peerages and titles to wealthy businessmen - money is often the only merit that rich people have - in exchange shelling out donations to his party's coffers. In the unkindest cut of all, only months before he died in 1945 he was elevated to the House of Lords, though he never sat in a place where he would have been one of the very few who ever got their titles by merit alone.

But then, what kind of merit is that... He was probably just as happy to go to the Other Place than have to take a seat among the very people that had opposed his life's work to improve the lot of the common British man, woman, and child...

Lloyd George had a wife and, apparently, the odd mistress. Very odd, indeed, as the song famously hints "Lloyd George knew my father; my father knew Lloyd George." Which begs the question, but did he know his wife? Whatever, it seems that Lloyd George was just your typical Englishman... Probably not your typical Welshman...

Right, Admiral David Beatty of World War I fame.

He's the missing guy; there are two of Lloyd-George in the collection, top.

The Wilkinson stamp and "England" which was first added to ceramic ware c 1891, so helping to denote a 19th century copy or item. Wedgewood changed this to "Made in England" in 1908, and by 1921, everyone else followed suit to satisfy American import requirements initiated by US Boer War era President William McKinley.
The Other Tobies: The other jugs followed over the next three years and were produced in varying lots in this order:

Lord Kitchener (250), Field Marshall John French (250), Marshall Joseph Joffre, (350); Admiral John Jellicoe, (350); Rt. Hon. David Lloyd George, (350); Field Marshall Douglas Haig (350); Admiral David Beatty, (350); Marshall Ferdinand Foch, (500); President Woodrow Wilson, (500); General Louis Botha (150); and King George V, (1000).

All the jugs are sitting figures that are hollow, open at the top, and have a large handle on the back.

The jugs vary from 26 to 31 cm high and six deep. They were made by Wilkinson (the Royal Staffordshire Pottery). All are signed by F Carruthers Gould on the bottom, and initialed on the base rim. They were sold by Soane & Smith in London.

The last complete set we saw for sale sold at Sotheby's in the UK for $30,000 C$. Single jugs can be had for two to four thousand - if you can find one for sale...

Needless to say, because they are in short supply, someone somewhere is making modern copies for sale primarily to satisfy a market - not to commit forgery, or flood collectors with fakes!!

But somewhere an antique dealer is looking to find a gullible collector to pass them off for a high price as an "authentic original Wilkinson."

We publish this page so it won't be you!!!!

To see all the Gould/Wilkinson tobies click or paste the link to Google:

c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 2000