Pitcher, "By Virtue and Valour"

This creamware pitcher is decorated with two transfer print images. On one side is a scene of a military officer bidding farewell to a woman as the army marches off over the lyrics to the Scottish song “O bonny Lass will you lie in a Barrack.” The other side depicts George Washington stepping on a lion, symbolizing the defeat of Great Britain during the American Revolution. In the background are a few Continental soldiers and a ship flying an American flag. Surrounding this image are the words “By virtue and valour, we have freed our country, extended our commerce, and laid the foundations of a great empire.” The image of Washington on this pitcher was designed by an Irishman named William Duke Moore. Under the spout are the script initials “DW,” which probably refer to the name of the owner of the pitcher. Robert H. McCauley purchased the jug from the Boston Antique Shop on October 29, 1938 for $50.00.
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
Object Name
Physical Description
monochrome, black (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, earthenware, refined (overall material)
transfer printed (overall production method/technique)
overall: 9 1/4 in x 9 1/4 in; 23.495 cm x 23.495 cm
overall: 9 3/16 in x 9 1/4 in x 6 3/4 in; 23.33625 cm x 23.495 cm x 17.145 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, Liverpool
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
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Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Domestic Furnishings
McCauley Liverpool Pottery
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Robert H. McCauley
Additional Media

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