Pitcher, "An Emblem of America"

This transfer printed creamware pitcher was made by Herculaneum Pottery in Liverpool, England around 1800. On the front is a print of the Cooper’s Guild Coat of Arms with the motto “Prosperity attend the integrity of our cause” below on a banner. On the reverse is the print titled “An Emblem for America.” It depicts the allegorical figure of Columbia holding a flag and showing two dark skinned Native Americans (who served as iconography for the Western Hemisphere). To Columbia’s left are portraits of men involved in the discovery of North America and the founding of the United States: Christopher Columbus, “Americus” Vespucci, Sir Walter Raleigh, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams. Under the spout is a print declaring “Peace and Commerce” an images of the all-seeing eye, the French and American flags knotted, and two hands clasped in a handshake. Just above are the initials “JS.” The print “An Emblem for America” is based on an engraving in a series by John Fairburn of London. Robert H. McCauley purchased this jug from the Boston Antique Shop of Boston, MA on December 30, 1938 for $75.00.
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
date made
ca 1800
Herculaneum Pottery
Physical Description
monochrome, black (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, earthenware, refined (overall material)
transfer printed (overall production method/technique)
overall: 10 1/4 in x 10 in; 26.035 cm x 25.4 cm
overall: 10 1/4 in x 10 in x 6 1/2 in; 26.035 cm x 25.4 cm x 16.51 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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