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This large creamware bowl is decorated with transfer prints on both its inside and outside. The interior center of the bowl features ship flying an American flag. Below the ship are the script initials “MC.” Near the inside edge of the bowl are floral prints. Four prints decorate the outside surface of the bowl—Benjamin Franklin wearing his famous beaver cap, a mythological print involving mermaids, George Washington dressed in his Continental uniform, and an image of the Roman god Neptune. The portrait of Franklin on this bowl is based on the 1777 drawing by French artist Charles Nicolas Cochin. The print of Washington included on this bowl is copied from an engraving based on Pierre Eugene Du Simitière’s portrait of Washington executed in black lead on February 1, 1779. Maritime designs are especially common on English-made transfer printed creamware meant for the American market. Stock prints of ships, like the one on this example, were repeatedly used by English ceramics printers. Sometimes color was added to the print to make it more appealing to the consumer. Robert H. McCauley purchased this bowl from Steele’s Pilgrim Shop owned by Mrs. Frank Steele in West Cummington, MA on August 8, 1939 for $175.00.
This bowl 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: 4 1/4 in x 9 15/16 in; 10.795 cm x 25.24125 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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