Pitcher, "Franklin"

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This transfer printed creamware pitcher is decorated with two prints celebrating Benjamin Franklin. The first print is a portrait of Benjamin Franklin wearing his famous beaver cap. This portrait of Franklin is based on the 1777 drawing by French artist Charles Nicolas Cochin. Underneath the portrait is the text “Benjamin Franklin/Born at Boston in New England the 17th Jan. 1706.” The other print is an oval wreath of leaves with a printed image of a physic laboratory at the bottom. Inside the wreath reads “Benjn Franklin Esq./L.L.D. & F.R.S./The brave defender of his Country Against the Oppression of Taxation without Representation; Author of the Greatest Discovery in Natural Philosophy since those of Sir Isaac Newton viz. that Lightening is the same with the electric fire.
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
place made
United Kingdom: England, Liverpool
Physical Description
monochrome, black (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, earthenware, refined (overall material)
transfer printed (overall production method/technique)
overall: 7 1/16 in x 6 11/16 in x 5 in; 17.93875 cm x 16.98625 cm x 12.7 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor 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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