Pitcher, "Ascending to Glory"

This transfer printed creamware pitcher is decorated with a large print of an American sailing ship. On the reverse is a print of the Apotheosis of George Washington, titled “Ascending in to Glory.” Finally, under the spout is a small print of Columbia saluting the ocean with a palmetto branch. 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. George Washington was another popular choice for creamware decorations. Since these types of pitchers were popular during the decades before and after the turn of the eighteenth century, it is not a surprise that the mourning of George Washington, following his death on December 14, 1799, is a major theme decorating these pitchers. The Apotheosis of Washington is a print done by John James Barralet. The print depicts Washington being raised from his tomb by two winged figures representing Immortality and Father Time. At the left are allegorical figures of Faith, Hope, and Charity above a spread winged bald eagle perched on the US shield with a banner reading “E Pluribus Unum” in its beak. Below Washington is an allegorical figure of Liberty and a Native American (representing the Western Hemisphere) seated among Washington’s armor, sword, and a fasces— iconography of his military and political career. Robert H. McCauley purchased this pitcher from Mrs. Frank Steele of West Cummington, MA on August 8, 1939 for $115.00.
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: 10 3/4 in x 12 in; 27.305 cm x 30.48 cm
overall: 10 15/16 in x 11 1/2 in x 8 1/4 in; 27.78125 cm x 29.21 cm x 20.955 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, Liverpool
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
Domestic Furnishings
Government, Politics, and Reform
McCauley Liverpool Pottery
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
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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