Pitcher, "Mary and Nancy"

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This small creamware pitcher features a polychromed transfer print of an American brigantine titled with its designation: “Mary and Nancy, Capt.n W.m York, Jun.e.” The other side of the pitcher features a memorial obelisk to Washington, capped with an urn and adorned with a profile image of Washington in his military regalia in the center of the obelisk. At the base of the monument is a female figure weeping and an eagle with its head down and wings extended. Banners around the print read “WASHINGTON IN GLORY / AMERICA IN TEARS.” Under the spout is a medallion containing the name “Rev.d W.m Mittimore.” Black ink accents decorate the base, handle, spout, and lip of this pitcher.
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. Similarly, the death of George Washington in 1799 led to an outpouring of commemorative products celebrating his life and mourning his death. The transfer-print on this pitcher mourning Washington’s death is based on an engraving designed and published by Philadelphians James Akin and William Harrison Jr. Robert H. McCauley purchased this pitcher from J. Grossman of Boston, MA on July 31, 1939 for $80.00.
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: 9 1/8 in x 9 1/2 in x 6 1/2 in; 23.1775 cm x 24.13 cm x 16.51 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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