Pitcher, "Stonemasons"

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This creamware pitcher is decorated with several transfer print designs related to Freemasonry. One side has is an image of a women embracing three children under the all-seeing eye, that is below a keystone arch supported by two pillars. Below the image is a stanza describing masonic ideals, “To judge with candor and speak no wrong/The feeble to support against the strong/To soothe the wretched and the poor to feed/Will cover many an idle foolish deed.” The other side has a large print presenting many of symbols and emblems of Masonry, similar to those seen on a Mason’s tracing board. Underneath the print is the text “United for the benefit of Mankind.” The pitcher is further adorned with four small prints under the spout, each filled with masonic emblems. One small final print with masonic emblems is under the pitcher’s handle.
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: 12 3/8 in x 13 in x 8 in; 31.4325 cm x 33.02 cm x 20.32 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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