Pitcher, "Smuglers"

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This transfer-printed creamware pitcher was made by Francis Morris of Shelton, England during the early 19th century. One side of the pitcher features a circular chain of sixteen links, each with a state’s name. Inside is an image of Liberty crowning a portrait of George Washington with laurels. The other side has a circular ribbon with states names written on it, enclosing a stanza from Joseph Addison’s 1701 poem “A Letter From Italy To The Right Honourable Charles Lord Halifax.” The stanza reads “O Liberty thou Goddess! / heav’nly bright, / Profuse of bliss / and pregnant with delight. / Eternal pleasures / in thy presence reign. / and smiling plenty leads / thy wanton train.” Lastly, under the spout is a small print of a sailor bidding farewell to a lady. The print is titled “Smuglers.” Robert H. McCauley purchased this pitcher from Mrs. Fred W. Austin of Weymouth, MA for $65.00 on May 31, 1939. Much of the transfer printed pottery of the period celebrates the life of Washington and the ideals of freedom and liberty.
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
monochrome, black (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, earthenware, refined (overall material)
hand painted (joint piece production method/technique)
transfer printed (joint piece production method/technique)
overall: 9 1/4 in x 9 1/8 in x 6 in; 23.495 cm x 23.1775 cm x 15.24 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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