Pitcher, "To Heavens High Architect"

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This creamware pitcher is decorated with a polychrome transfer print of an American ship under sail on one side and an architectural design with masonic elements on the other. The architectural design depicts two women with a drafting plan, compass, and a plumb rule in the act of planning construction with columns in the background. Underneath the image is the brief song: “To Heavens High Architect all praise / all gratitude be given / who design’d the human soul to raise / by secrets sprung from Heaven.” Under the spout is the Great Seal of the United States dated “Anno Domini 1804.” Under the handle is a small print of a Masonic tracing board depicting the common symbols of Freemasonry. Prominent members of society were often Freemasons, counting founding fathers like Benjamin Franklin and George Washington among their ranks. The elevated social status of Masons means that many masonic themes are found on creamware pitchers of this era. The style of eagle in the Great Seal of the United States indicates that the jug may have been decorated by Francis Morris. Robert H. McCauley purchased the jug from Joseph Kindig, Jr. of York, PA on August 5, 1938 for $60.00 as part of the William Randolph Hearst Collection.
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 1/4 in x 7 1/4 in; 28.2575 cm x 26.035 cm x 18.415 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


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