Pair of Vases
Made by the Tucker Factory, Philadelphia, 1826 - 1831. Painting attributed to Thomas Tucker, American, 1812 - 1890.
In the decades after independence from Great Britain, Philadelphians like Thomas and William Ellis Tucker took the lead artistically for the United States in the same way Athens had for the ancient world, earning the city its reputation as the “Athens of America.” The Tucker brothers’ factory, although not the first to produce the delicate material of porcelain in the New World, was the most successful in its twelve years of operation, able to withstand the high cost of labor and rival imports. These monumental vases are classical in their form, but elaborately decorated to celebrate another example of American ingenuity: Philadelphia’s Fairmount Water Works. Still standing today to the west of the Museum, this triumph of engineering brought growth to Philadelphia and the entire region by providing a reliable water supply.
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