(Left of handle) The central image gives a view of the Engine Society in action with the accompanying text "Cumberland, Engine No. 8, Society" "PROBO NO PUBLICO." Around the central scene are floral sprays and two George Washington memorial medallions. (Under spout) A wreath enclosing "Presented to the Cumberland; Engine Society No. 8 by Wm. Loring." Above that, an adaptation of the Great Seal of the United States flanked by allegorical figures of "Hope" and "Faith." (Right of handle) A James Madison portrait medallion, featuring Jefferson's visage based on the portrait by Gilbert Stuart, but Maddison's name.

Herculaneum Pottery, Liverpool, England, 1796 - 1841

Made in Liverpool, England, Europe

c. 1814

Lead-glazed earthenware (creamware) with transfer-printed decoration

15 1/2 × 15 inches (39.4 × 38.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Bequest of R. Wistar Harvey, 1940

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    The relatively inexpensive decorative technique of transfer printing, in which a print from a copper or steel plate is applied to an enamel and ceramic object while the ink is still wet and then fixed by firing, was introduced in England in the mid-eighteenth century. Although transfer-printed objects were often decorated with more than one scene, this large barrel-shaped jug, one of nearly four hundred pieces of such ceramics given to the Museum by R. Wistar Harvey in 1940, is remarkable for its twenty-one designs. It was probably made in Liverpool, a major center for the production of transfer-printed ceramics. Because the city was a port of call for American vessels after around 1785, its enterprising potters began to decorate their wares with American themes (George Washington and James Madison are shown here). Although the original client for this jug is not known, the central scene and inscription suggest that it was made to honor the fire company of Cumberland, Maryland, for its role in fighting fires during the British invasion of Washington, D.C., in the War of 1812. Donna Corbin, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 150.