Britain was in the forefront of the Industrial Revolution and nowhere can its impact be seen better than in the ceramic industry which was transformed in the late 18th century. White earthenware and bone-china, which imitated the look of porcelain but not its hardness or translucency, was now made in big factories. These employed large numbers of people often doing quite repetitive work. Pieces were cast in moulds rather than hand-modelled and decorated with transfer prints rather than hand-painted.
This piece is typical of the new inexpensive novelty wares that were produced for the mass market in the 19th century probably in Stoke-on-Trent the centre of the ceramic industry. It would have been made in a mould and decorated with prints that were applied to the surface eliminating the need for skilled hand-painting. It is a milk jug but would surely have been difficult to clean and is likely to have been used mainly as an ornament on a mantelpiece or dresser. These are now highly prized ‘antiques’ but they were always collectables even though for people of modest means.