This transfer printed creamware tea caddy was made by Josiah Wedgwood of Stoke-on-Trent, England during the 1780s or 1790s. The tea caddy (a small container used to hold loose tea) is decorated with a portrait of George Washington on one side and a Continental soldier on the other. In the portrait George Washington is in his uniform that he wore as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. On both sides of the print are banners that read “HIS EXCELLENCY / GENERAL WASHINGTON.” Beneath the print is an additional descriptive statement, “Commander in Chief of the forces of the United States.”. On the other side of the tea caddy is a transfer-print of a uniformed soldier holding a musket. Behind him is a cannon, stack of cannon balls, and the cannon’s firing tools. The print of Washington included on this tea caddy is copied from an engraving based on Pierre Eugene Du Simitière’s portrait of Washington executed in black lead on February 1, 1779. Robert H. McCauley purchased this tea caddy from Edgar H. Sittig, an antiques dealer from Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA, on June 29, 1942 for $52.50.
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.
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