Pitcher, "George Washington"

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This large creamware pitcher features a transfer-print commemorating George Washington. One side of the pitcher features a memorial obelisk to Washington, with an image of a spread-winged eagle on the other. The obelisk is capped with an urn and features a profile image of Washington in his military regalia in the center of the obelisk. At the base of the monument is a female figure weeping and an eagle with its head down and wings extended. Banners around the print read “WASHINGTON IN GLORY / AMERICA IN TEARS.” Below the spout is a transfer print of a medallion with the phrase, “A MAN / without example / A PATRIOT / without reproach.” Below the handle is a print of the Great seal of the United States. The eagle on the opposite side of the jug is flanked by two allegorical figures representing Plenty and Peace with the phrase “PEACE, PLENTY, and INDEPENDENCE” in a cartouche.
George Washington is the most common figure depicted on English creamware pitchers of this period. His death in 1799 led to an outpouring of commemorative products celebrating his life and mourning his death. The transfer-print on this pitcher is based on an engraving by Philadelphians James Akin and William Harrison Jr. titled “America lamenting her loss at the Tomb of GENERAL WASHINGTON.” The phrase, “A MAN / without example / A PATRIOT / without reproach” is drawn from Thomas Paine’s “An Eulogy on the Life of General George Washington” delivered on January 2, 1800. This particular Thomas Paine was not the man who wrote Common Sense, but was the son of Robert Treat Paine, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Robert H. McCauley purchased this pitcher from A.T. Goodyear of Baltimore, MD for $55.00 on August 4, 1938.
This pitcher is part of the McCauley collection of American themed transfer print pottery. There is no mark on the pitcher to tell us who made it, but it is characteristic of wares made in large volume for the American market in both Staffordshire and Liverpool between 1790 and 1820. Pitchers of this shape, with a cream colored glaze over a pale earthenware clay, known as Liverpool type, were the most common vessels to feature transfer prints with subjects commemorating events and significant figures in the early decades of United States’ history. Notwithstanding the tense relationship between Britain and America, Liverpool and Staffordshire printers and potters seized the commercial opportunity offered them in the production of transfer printed earthenwares celebrating the heroes, the military victories, and the virtues of the young republic, and frequently all of these things at once.
Currently not on view
date made
place made
United Kingdom: England
Physical Description
ceramic (overall material)
overall: 10 5/8 in x 9 1/4 in x 6 1/4 in; 26.9875 cm x 23.495 cm x 15.875 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Robert H. McCauley
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Domestic Furnishings
McCauley Liverpool Pottery
Government, Politics, and Reform
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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