Pitcher, "John Adams"

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This creamware pitcher is decorated with three transfer-prints. On one side is a polychrome image of a ship with three masts. Below the spout is the Great Seal of the United States of America. On the reverse is a print featuring a likeness of John Adams surrounded by the allegorical figures of Justice, Plenty, and Cupid. Interestingly, the image of Adams looks dissimilar to other portraits of the President. The image may not even be based on Adams himself, but is probably a stock print. This pitcher likely dates to c. 1800. Robert H. McCauley purchased this pitcher from Parke- Burnet Galleries in New York City for $85.00 on June 22, 1944
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
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, earthenware, refined (overall material)
transfer printed (overall production method/technique)
overall: 10 1/8 in x 10 3/8 in x 7 1/4 in; 25.7175 cm x 26.3525 cm x 18.415 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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