Pitcher, "W & N Clark"

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This large creamware pitcher features both hand painted and printed decoration. On the front, hand painted in black and gold, is a scene of a ship being loaded with barrels. On the reverse is a transfer print of the ship “The Constitution” which has been painted over with gold paint. Under the spout, within a medallion is the name “W&N Clark.” Remnants of gilding remain all over this jug. Maritime designs are especially common on English-made transfer printed creamware meant for the American market. Often stock prints of ships were repeatedly used by English ceramics printers. Although this jug refers to a real ship, the print itself is probably generic. Sometimes color was added to the print to make it more appealing to the consumer. This pitcher was customized with the owner’s name, however it is unclear who “W&N Clark” is.
The USS Constitution was one of the most famous US Navy ships of the early 19th century. Built in Boston in 1797, the Constitution saw action in the Quasi War with France, the Barbary Wars and during the War of 1812. Robert H. McCauley purchased this jug from John Schwarz of Baltimore, MD on October 4, 1940 for $150.00.
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, Staffordshire
Physical Description
monochrome, brown (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, earthenware, refined (overall material)
transfer printed (overall production method/technique)
overall: 12 7/8 in x 12 1/8 in x 8 1/2 in; 32.7025 cm x 30.7975 cm x 21.59 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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