This earthenware pitcher is decorated with a portrait print titled “To the Memory of Lieut. Gen. Sir John Moore, K.B.” featuring the allegorical figure of Britannia holding a portrait of Moore. The other side is decorated with a print of a British sailing ship engaged in battle with an enemy vessel. John Moore (1761 1809) first served as a British officer in the American War for Independence. Knighted in 1804 and promoted to a lieutenant general in 1805, Moore became involved in the training of Britain’s Light Division of infantry troops. On January 16, 1809, Moore was mortally wounded while commanding the division protecting the retreat of British troops during the Battle of Corunna. The portrait of Moore on this pitcher is based on Sir Thomas Lawrence’s oil on canvas portrait which he painted circa 1800 1804. Robert H. McCauley purchased this jug from Mrs. Edith W. Keefe of Norwell, MA on July 20, 1939 for $27.50.
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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