Pitcher, "Washington"

Pitcher, "Washington"

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
This creamware pitcher is decorated with transfer prints of shipbuilding on one side and a commemoration of George Washington on the other. The portrait of Washington at the center of this print is based on a 1789 portrait by Edward Savage. The rest of the print depicts Washington surrounded by the allegorical figures of Justice, Liberty, and Victory. This central image is encircled with a border of ribbons and stars, each loop of the ribbon has one of the first fifteen states on it. On the reverse is a scene of ship building with a poetic stanza drawn from Robert Treat Paine, Junior’s song Adams and Liberty, “Our mountains are covered with imperial oak, Whose roots like our liberties ages have nourished / but long ere our nation submits to the yoke, Not a tree shall be left on the field where it flourish’d / Should invasion impend Every grove would descend, from the Hill tops they shaded our shores to defend / for ne’er shall the sons of Columbia be slaves, While the Earth bears a plant or the Sea Rolls its waves.” Under the spout is a print of the Great Seal of the United States. George Washington is the most common figure depicted on English creamware pitchers of this period. His death in 1799 led to an outpouring of commemorative products celebrating his life and mourning his death.
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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
possible maker
Herculaneum Pottery
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: 9 3/8 in x 8 7/8 in x 6 1/4 in; 23.8125 cm x 22.5425 cm x 15.875 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
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object