This creamware pitcher is decorated with both maritime and Masonic transfer prints. On the front is a transfer printed Masonic motif featuring such symbols as the All Seeing Eye, the Checkered Floor, the Moon and Seven stars, and a Beehive. Under the spout is a medallion bordered by masonic symbols. Within the medallion are the script initials “SB.” On the reverse is a polychrome sailing ship flying an American flag. Finally, under the handle is a small print of the Great Seal of the United States.
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. Masonic themes are often found on creamware of the period as well. Robert H. McCauley purchased it from H. Weiner of Boston, MA on July 31, 1939 for $40.00.
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.
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