Pitcher, "Stephen Decatur"

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This small creamware pitcher is decorated with two prints related to the War of 1812. On one side is a portrait of Stephen Decatur, with “Stephen Decatur Esq.e of the United States Navy” written underneath. On the reverse is a sailing ship flying an American flag. This print is titled “The True Blooded Yankee.” Stephen Decatur rose to national fame for his daring actions as a Lieutenant during the War with Tripoli (1803-1804) and his service as a Commodore during the War of 1812. The print of Decatur on this jug is based on an engraving by Philadelphian David Edwin. Edwin based his engraving on a portrait of Decatur by Gilbert Stuart. The True Blooded Yankee was a French built privateer commanded by Captain Joshua Hailey during the War of 1812. During the War, the American government authorized private ships to attack enemy ships to disrupt communications and shipping. Both patriotism and profit motivated privateers. Captain Hailey sailed out of Brest on March 1, 1813 and recorded a successful career as a privateer, capturing or destroying numerous enemy vessels. However, in late 1814, The True Blooded Yankee was captured by the British. Robert H. McCauley purchased this jug from Henry Lee Worth of Fredonia, NY on June 13, 1941 for $25.00.
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 1/2 in x 8 in x 5 1/4 in; 19.05 cm x 20.32 cm x 13.335 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
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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