In real life, the obelisk pictured on Farmer Ted’s Dairy bottle is made of limestone blocks, stands seventy feet tall and was constructed in 1749 for Thomas Archer MP of Umberslide. Archer lived at nearby Umberslide Hall, a seventieth-century mansion built on land granted to the Archer family in the twelfth century by King Henry the II. The obelisk acted as a landscape feature, a fashionable eighteenth-century practice aimed at drawing one’s eye out into the landscape, hence being known as ‘eye-catchers.’ William Field, a writer and clergyman, describes it as “a fine obelisk, which forms a striking object from the windows of the house” in his book, An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Town and Castle of Warwick and of the Neighbouring Spa of Leamington, published in 1815.
Today Umberside Hall is a private residence, and the obelisk stands on Obelisk Farm, home to Farmer Ted’s Dairy. The vending machine provides farm-fresh pasteurised milk from a herd of Montbeliarde cows who spend their days grazing the lush pastures of Hockley Heath, Warwickshire.