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This transfer printed creamware mug is decorated with a portrait of Benjamin Franklin on one side and a wildflower on the other. The portrait of Franklin depicts him in a beaver cap with flanked by rococo flourishes. The flourishes read “Benj.n Franklin LLD FRS.” Below the portrait is written, “Born at Boston in New England 17 Jan. 1706.” The portrait of Franklin on this bowl is based on the 1777 drawing by French artist Charles Nicolas Cochin. This is one of the most famous portraits of Franklin. Both of Franklin’s titles are included here. LLD signifies him as a Doctor of Law and FRS signifies him as a Fellow of the Royal Society due to his scientific discoveries.
This mug is part of the McCauley collection of American themed transfer print pottery. There is no mark 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
Object Name
place made
United Kingdom: England, Liverpool
Physical Description
monochrome, black (overall surface decoration color name)
ceramic, earthenware, refined (overall material)
transfer printed (overall production method/technique)
overall: 4 7/8 in x 5 in x 3 1/2 in; 12.3825 cm x 12.7 cm x 8.89 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
Credit Line
Robert H. McCauley
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Domestic Furnishings
McCauley Liverpool Pottery
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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