Friday, 24 July 2015

“Friar Tuck” Salt and Pepper Shakers

By: Annemarie Christie 

You might wonder why monks would make appropriate figures for salt and pepper shakers, but they were very popular in the 1950s, and today these ceramic “Friar Tuck” salt and pepper shakers at the museum are a very collectible set.

Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum: Photo by Annemarie Christie

These two little charmers in the photo above reside in the Lifestyles section of the museum. They have no manufacturer’s name on them and no factory stamp. This leads to the conclusion that they were likely to have been manufactured in imitation of the Hummel “Friar Tuck” Monk salt and pepper shakers introduced by the German Goebel Porcelain Factory in the 1950s.  If they were genuine Goebel-made shakers they would have a Goebel mark (all genuine Hummel figurines have a crown mark, a bee in a v-shaped mark or one of the Goebel line marks on the bottom). The museum’s shakers could have been manufactured in the United States or Japan, and in spite of being an imitation, they are very detailed and painted by hand.

The original Goebel shakers were inspired by the porcelain Hummel figurines of Friar Tuck, also made by the Goebel factory, which date back to the early 1900s. The Hummel Monk figurines were purely decorative, whereas the Friar Tuck tableware series they produced was for table use. The tableware included sugar bowls and creamers, mustard pots and jugs, and even a Friar Tuck beer mug.

The background to the creation of the now famous Hummel figurines is an interesting one. The Goebel company made an exclusive agreement with Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel and the Convent of Siessen that granted Goebel the right to adapt the artist’s drawings into three-dimensional porcelain figurines. It would seem logical that the monk figurine was based on one of Sister Maria’s drawings.

If you compare the above photo of the museum’s shakers with the photo below of the original Hummel shakers, you can see the difference between the imitation and the originals. The museum’s shakers have slightly different hair, and the figures are holding the bible directly in front of them, rather than at their sides. They also have a slightly impish look on their faces, which makes them even cuter than the original Hummel shakers, in my opinion!

Hummel salt and pepper shakers: Photo courtesy of eBay

If you have a further interest in collectible salt and pepper shakers there is a group called The Salt and Pepper Club, whose sole focus is on shakers (you can find them online at

I hope everyone enjoyed my first blog post for the Logy Bay-Outer Cove-Middle Cove Museum. Come on in and see the shakers for yourself!


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