Pitcher, "L'Insurgente"

The front of this creamware pitcher is decorated with a transfer print design of the Constellation’s victory over the French ship L’Insurgente. Beneath the print is a description of the battle: "L'Insurgent French Frigate of 44 guns & 411 men striking her colours to the American Frigate Constellation. Commodore Truxton of 40 Guns after an action of an hour & a half in which the former had 75 men killed & wounded & the latter one killed & three wounded Feb 10th 1799." The battle was one of the first victories for America’s young navy. On the reverse is a print celebrating American ship building with a song verse in the center. The verse is drawn from the song Adams and Liberty, “Our mountains are covered with imperial oak, Whose roots like our liberties ages have nourished / but long ere our nation submits to the yoke, Not a tree shall be left on the field where it flourish’d / Should invasion impend Every grove would descend, from the Hill tops they shaded our shores to defend / for ne’er shall the sons of Columbia be slaves, While the Earth bears a plant or the Sea Rolls its waves.” Under the spout is the Great Seal of the United States and a medallion containing the phrase “Success to the Infant Navy of America.”
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
Object Name
Physical Description
ceramic, earthenware, refined (overall material)
overall: 9 1/4 in x 9 in; 23.495 cm x 22.86 cm
overall: 9 1/4 in x 9 in x 6 3/4 in; 23.495 cm x 22.86 cm x 17.145 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, Liverpool
ID Number
catalog number
collector/donor number
accession number
Domestic Furnishings
McCauley Liverpool Pottery
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
McCauley Liverpool Pottery
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Robert H. McCauley
Additional Media

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