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This transfer printed creamware mug is decorated with a portrait of William Bainbridge. The portrait depicts Bainbridge in his naval costume facing right. Around the head of the portrait is a script that reads “Commodore Bainbridge” while below is a scroll reading “Avast Boys She’s Struck.” Below that is printed “Captur’d and destroyed the Java.” While well known for his earlier naval exploits, Bainbridge’s most illustrious claim to fame came during the War of 1812. On December 29, 1812 the USS Constitution battled the HMS Java destroying the ship and capturing its crew, referenced on this mug.
This mug is part of the McCauley collection of American themed transfer print pottery. There is no mark on the mug 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: 6 5/16 in x 5 3/4 in x 4 1/8 in; 16.03375 cm x 14.605 cm x 10.4775 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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