Pitcher, "Shipbuilding"

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This pitcher is decorated with transfer prints a shipbuilding scene on one side and a spread-winged eagle on the other. The shipbuilding scene portrays different stages of the shipbuilding process—trees being felled, logs carted to the building yard, logs turned into planks, and planks formed into ships. Below the scene is a verse from the song Adams and Liberty, “Our mountains are covered with imperial oak, Whose roots like our liberties ages have nourished / but long ere our nation submits to the yoke, Not a tree shall be left on the field where it flourish’d / Should invasion impend Every grove would descend, from the Hill tops they shaded our shores to defend / for ne’er shall the sons of Columbia be slaves, While the Earth bears a plant or the Sea Rolls its waves.” The opposite side of the jug features a spread-winged bald eagle similar to that from the Great Seal of the United States. Robert H. McCauley purchased this jug from A.T. Goodyear of Baltimore, MD on August 4, 1938 for $45.00.
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
monochrome, black (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, earthenware, refined (overall material)
transfer printed (joint piece production method/technique)
overall: 8 7/8 in x 9 1/2 in x 6 1/2 in; 22.5425 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
Government, Politics, and Reform
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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