The design for this model is perhaps inspired by Sir John Tenniel's illustrations for Lewis Caroll's Through the Looking Glass. Another example of this model, although with silver mounted handle, tail and flippers, along with a jug depicting the Carpenter is illustrated in Michael Clayton, Christie's Pictorial History of English and American Silver, page 289, plate 10.
The firm of Leuchars & Son was founded by James Leuchars in Piccadilly in 1794, selling various luxury goods throughout the 19th century. In 1888 the firm was acquired by Asprey & Sons and continued to operate from Piccadilly until 1902. Novelty claret jugs such as the example offered here seem to have been a speciality of Leuchars with many varieties from the same period known.