This creamware bowl is decorated with a number of transfer prints. The central inside this bowl is a polychromed print of an American sailing ship with the name “Zebedee Cook” below. Zebedee Cook was born in 1760 and lived as a prominent citizen in Newburyport, Massachusetts for much of his life. He was an underwriter for insuring merchandise and ships at sea. The interior edge of the bowl is ringed by six images of naval and military instruments. On the outside of the bowl are four prints. One print features a portrait of John Adams “President of the United States” flanked the allegorical figures of Plenty and Justice. Another print depicts George Washington stepping on a lion, symbolizing the defeat of Great Britain during the American Revolution. Surrounding this image are the words “By virtue and valour, we have freed our country, extended our commerce, and laid the foundations of a great empire.” In the background are a few Continental soldiers and a ship flying an American flag. The other two prints are concerned with mythological scenes featuring mermaids and the god Neptune. Robert H. McCauley purchased the bowl from Parke Burnet Galleries in New York, NY on March 31, 1944 for $90.00. This bowl was formerly part of the George Horace Lorimer collection. Lorimer was an editor of The Saturday Evening Post from 1899 to 1936.
This bowl is part of the McCauley collection of American themed transfer print pottery. There is no mark on the bowl 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. Ceramics of this style, with a cream colored glaze over a pale earthenware clay, known as Liverpool type commonly featured 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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