Pitcher, "Liberty thou Goddess"

<< >>
This creamware pitcher is decorated with two patriotic transfer prints. One print depicts the map of the United States flanked by George Washington and an allegorical figure of Liberty on one side with Benjamin Franklin and the allegories of Justice and Wisdom on the other. Also included in this print are a herald, a striped flag, and liberty cap. This print is drawn from the legend of a map of the United States published by John Wallis of London in 1783. On the reverse of the pitcher is a medallion containing a poetic verse: “O Liberty thou Goddess! / heav’nly bright, / Profuse of bliss / and pregnant with delight. / Eternal pleasures / in thy presence reign. / and smiling plenty leads / thy wanton train.” Surrounding that is a chain with each link labeled as one of the fifteen states of the United States. Above that is a print of the Great Seal of the United States. The poetic lines are taken from Joseph Addison’s 1701 poem “A Letter From Italy To The Right Honourable Charles Lord Halifax.” Robert H. McCauley purchased this pitcher from Charles L. Harris of New London, CT on April 19, 1940 for $5.00.
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
place made
United Kingdom: England, Liverpool
Physical Description
transfer printed (overall production method/technique)
monochrome, black (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, earthenware, refined (overall material)
overall: 8 1/2 in x 8 1/2 in x 5 1/4 in; 21.59 cm x 21.59 cm x 13.335 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


Add a comment about this object