Pitcher, "Hope"

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This large creamware pitcher is decorated with four colored transfer prints. The first image depicts a woman clutching her breast as she watches an American ship sail away. Under the spout is an image of a woman and child in a row boat bidding farewell to a sailor who has just set sail. Below the image is the verse “her less’ning boat unwilling rows to land / Adieu she cry’d and wav’d her lilly hand.” On the reverse is a generic sailing ship flying an American flag. Finally, under the handle is a scene of a sailor hugging a woman as a British ship is about to set sail. The design and the verse takes its inspiration from 18th century English dramatist John Gay’s ballad “Sweet William’s Farewell to Black-Ey’d Susan.”
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. Sometimes color was added to the print to make it more appealing to the consumer. American ship officers would often buy these pre-printed jugs when their commercial travels took them to England, or specifically, Liverpool. These jugs could also be customized rather quickly by a ceramic enameller or printer. Robert H. McCauley purchased this jug from Ginsberg and Levy of New York, NY on June 1, 1939 for $85.00.
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
polychrome (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, earthenware, refined (overall material)
transfer printed (overall production method/technique)
overall: 11 1/8 in x 10 3/4 in x 7 in; 28.2575 cm x 27.305 cm x 17.78 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
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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