Pitcher, "Washington in Glory"

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Description
This large creamware pitcher features a transfer-print commemorating George Washington. One side of the pitcher features a memorial obelisk to Washington, capped with an urn and adorned with a profile image of Washington in his military regalia in the center of the obelisk. At the base of the monument is a female figure weeping and an eagle with its head down and wings extended. Banners around the print read “WASHINGTON IN GLORY / AMERICA IN TEARS.” Below the spout is a transfer print image of the Great Seal of the United States. Printed on the reverse of the pitcher is a poetic verse: “As he tills your rich glebe, the old peasant shall tell / While his bosom with Liberty glows / How your WARREN expired __ how MONTGOMERY fell / And how WASHINGTON humbled your foes.” Decorations surrounding this verse include a liberty cap, an American flag, a banner adorned with stars and stripes, and symbols of agriculture and academics. Remnants of a decorative gilded edging surround the top, bottom, and spout of the pitcher.
George Washington is the most common figure depicted on English creamware pitchers of this period. His death in 1799 led to an outpouring of commemorative products celebrating his life and mourning his death. The transfer-print on this pitcher is based on an engraving by Philadelphians James Akin and William Harrison Jr. titled “America lamenting her loss at the Tomb of GENERAL WASHINGTON.” The poetic verse included on this pitcher was written by Edward Rushton and is included in his poem “American Independency” published in 1806 in his book of poems. The book was published in London. The verse on this pitcher refers to Continental Army generals Joseph Warren and Richard Montgomery, both of whom were killed in the early battles of the war. Robert H. McCauley purchased this pitcher from Fred J. Finnerty, a Boston antiques dealer, for $50.00 on October 26, 1938.
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.
Location
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)
Measurements
overall: 9 in x 9 1/4 in x 6 1/2 in; 22.86 cm x 23.495 cm x 16.51 cm
ID Number
CE.63.080
catalog number
63.080
accession number
248881
collector/donor number
308
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, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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