Designs Relating To Washington
ONE scarcely knows where to begin or end this list when one considers the vast number of pieces of pottery and porcelain that bear the name and ostensibly bear the portrait of Washington—more and more varied even than the Lord Nelson prints in England. Often Washington's portrait is found with that of Franklin or Lafayette ; in such cases I have given the subject of the most prominent or the named design the honor of determining the place on the list.. The largest number of these Washington designs occur upon Liver-pool mugs and pitchers in black prints. Some few are in blue upon Staffordshire earthenware. In the Hunting-ton Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, may be seen a vast number of ceramic likenesses of the great American. Many of these are single specimens painted by hand—both by artists and amateurs, apparently. One set of four plaques has copies of the Savage, Trumbull, Peale, and Stuart portraits of Washington. Such I have not attempted to describe or classify. One specially comical portrait-plaque, painted in China, shows an almond-eyed Washington with his hair a la chinoise, with feminine hair ornaments, while on his republican shoulders rests the dark blue sack garment familiar to us as the festival garb of our Chinese washermen. There are in the Trumbull-Prime Collection a large number of Washington pitchers, from which some of the entries on this list are described.
One Liverpool print deserves special mention, for a very interesting story is attached to it, and is told in de-tail by Benson J. Lossing in his " Mount Vernon and Its Associations." A dealer in Philadelphia imported a number of pitchers of various sizes, each bearing a portrait of Washington, the design for which had been taken from Gilbert Stuart's picture painted for the Marquis of Lansdowne. Nutter had engraved this portrait for Hunter's edition of Lavater, and a copy of the en-graving was printed upon the pitchers. Mr. Dorsey, a sugar-dealer of Philadelphia, purchased several of these pitchers, and after a number of unsuccessful attempts to separate the part bearing the portrait from the rest of the pitcher, managed at last, by using the broad-faced hammer of a shoemaker, to break out the picture unharmed with a single sharp blow. The pottery fragment bearing the portrait was handsomely framed by Mr. James R. Smith. of Philadelphia, and sent to Judge Washington at Mount Vernon, where it was hung and was known as the pitcher portrait. A copy of it is here shown.
Mr. Smith owned a crayon portrait of Washington, a copy made by Sharpless himself of his original picture of Washington. On the back of this Sharpless portrait was a long eulogy of Washington, written by an English gentleman. Mr.. Smith copied a portion of this eulogy on the back of the pitcher portrait—as much of the inscription, in fact, as there was room to write. It ran thus, as given in " Alden's Collections of American Epitaphs and Inscriptions :" " Washington the Defender of his Country, the Founder of Liberty and the Friend of Man. History and Tradition are explored in vain for a parallel to his character. In the annals of modern greatness he stands alone, and the noblest names of antiquity lose their lustre in his presence. Born the Benefactor of
Mankind he united all the qualities necessary to an illustrious career. Nature made him great, he made him-self virtuous. Called by his country to the defense of her liberties, he triumphantly vindicated the rights of humanity and, on the pillars of National Independence, laid. the foundations of a Great Republick. Twice in-vested with supreme magistracy, by the unanimous vote of a free people, he surpassed in the cabinet the glories of the field ; and voluntarily resigning the sword and the sceptre, retired to the shades of private life. A spectacle so new and so sublime was contemplated with the profoundest admiration, and the name of Washington, adding new lustre to humanity, resounded to the remotest regions of the earth. Magnanimous in youth, glorious through life, great in death, his highest ambition the happiness of mankind, his noblest victory the conquest of himself. Bequeathing to posterity the inheritance of his fame, and building his monument in the hearts of his countrymen he lived—the ornament of the eighteenth century, he died—regretted by the mourning world."
The centre portion of this inscription has been within a few years cut out of the back of the frame by some vandal hands. The entire eulogy, as written on the back of the Sharpless portrait, can be seen in Lossing's " Mount Vernon and Its Associations," and in Sparks's "Writings of Washington," and as a masterpiece of flattery—and honest flattery, too—it knows no equal.
This pitcher portrait descended to Lawrence Washington, Esq. It was exhibited at the Philadelphia State House in 1876, and was sold at auction April 22, 1891, at Philadelphia, for $75.
Liverpool pitchers bearing the design like that of the pitcher portrait are rare in America, but are found in a few private collections; and oval plaques are also found bearing the same portrait. These latter have a swelling surface, as if cut from the side of a pitcher. There are specimens with this print in the Trumbull-Prime Collection. Some years ago a framed pitcher portrait was found in the attic of an old house in Washington Street, Newport, and is now in the possession of Benjamin Smith, Esq., of Philadelphia.
Some very interesting ceramic portraits of Washington were made in China, early in this century, on four porcelain toddy-jugs, by order of Mr. B. C. Willcocks, of Philadelphia. It is said that the portraits were copied from one of these pitcher portraits, but the head on the toddy-jugs is longer and narrower, and the neck is much longer. This elongating may have been done by the Chinese artist, but it looks more like the other Stuart portrait, the one with lawn ruffles ; the pitcher portrait has a lace ruffle. One of this quartette of covered toddy-jugs was kept by Mr. Willcocks, and the other three he presented to three life-long friends who met frequently and regularly to play whist with him. One of these Washington toddy-jugs is now in a 'Washington collection in New-port. It is a foot in height and seven inches in diameter, of white Chinese hard porcelain. It has foliated handles, heavy rim, and " chimera" knob on the cover, all of gilt. On one side is the portrait of Washington, but by reason of the bluish shade of the hard porcelain it lacks the softness of the print on the Liverpool ware. The portrait is banded with a heavy gold edge, and in a similar gilt oval on the opposite side of the pitcher is a pretty cipher, B. C. W.
To this pitcher-portrait design, since so much honor has been paid to it, I will assign the first place on my Washington list.
1. Washington. Head from Stuart's Portrait. Liver-pool.
On oval plaques and pitchers. Described on pages 258 at seq., and shown on page 259.
2. Washington. Head from Stuart's portrait. Canton.
On Chinese toddy-jug. Described on preceding page.
3. Washington. Medallion head on monument. Liverpool.
This oval design is printed on pitchers of three sizes. In the centre is a monument hearing a poor medallion portrait of Washington, surmounted by a laurel wreath and urn, and bearing the words " George Washington Born Feb 22, 1732
Died Dec. 17, 1799." Below the coat-of-arms of the Washington family, a shield bearing five bars in chief three mullets. A weeping female figure leans against the monument, and a very sad eagle droops in the foreground, with two equally drooping willows on either side. Above the de-sign are the words, " Washington in Glory," below, " America in Tears." A pitcher bearing this design is here shown.
4. Washington. Medallion head. Liverpool.
Similar design to No. 3, but more coarsely engraved, while the inscriptions are within the oval line of the print.
5. Washington. Medallion. Liverpool.
This is printed in black on mugs and pitchers of various sizes. One is shown on page 139. The portrait ismean and poor to the last degree. On the right stands America with the words, " Deafness to the ear that will patiently hear, and dumbness to the tongue that will utter a calumny against the immortal Washington." On the left Liberty says, " My favorite Son." Below, the inscription, " Long Live the President of the United States." This, of course, was made previous to 1799, the date of Washington's death.
6. Washington. Portrait. Staffordshire.
Printed in black. Marked F. Morris, Shelton. Liberty holds a wreath over the head of Washington. The inscription reads, " Washington Crowned with Laurels by Liberty."' This is surrounded by a chain with fifteen large links inclosing the, names of fifteen States.
7. Washington. Monument.
A plate of cream-colored ware printed in dull reddish brown. Within a ring dotted with fifteen stars is the figure of the Goddess of Liberty, with a shield and olive branch. Behind her stands a pyramidal monument bearing a portrait of Washington and inscribed, " Sacred to the Memory of Washington." On one side is seen the ocean with a ship, and at the foot of Liberty is an eagle and a scroll with the words, " E Pluribu's Unum." Around the edge of the plate are long oval medallions of stripes and stars.
8. Washington. Portrait. Liverpool.
Printed in black or red. A poor portrait of Washington, over which a cherub holds a wreath inclosing the word " Washington." Justice and Liberty on either side of portrait, and Victory at base. A ribbon scroll has the names of fifteen States and incloses fifteen stars.
9. Washington. Apotheosis. Liverpool.
Oval print, with a label at the base, the word Apotheosis. A tomb with seated figures of Liberty and an Indian in the fore-ground. Time is lifting Washington, clothed in a shroud, from the tomb, while an angel holds the patriot's hand and points up to rays of glory. On the tomb the words, " Sacred to the memory of Washington 17 Dec. A.D. 1799. Ae 68." Outside the oval are winged cherub heads. Often under the nose of the pitcher is seen the motto, " A Man without Ex-ample, A Patriot without Reproach." Pitchers bearing this specially hideous print seem to be eagerly sought, after by all china collectors. It is a reduced copy of a large engraving three feet long and two wide, which was issued by Simon Chandron and John J. Barradet, in Philadelphia, in January, 1802. This engraving is still frequently seen in old Philadelphia homes, and was common enough in the middle of the century. In the large engraving many funny details can be seen which are lost or blurred in the pitcher print. For in-stance, the various decorations owned by Washington, including the Order of the Cincinnati, are proudly displayed, hanging over the stone of the open tomb. Sometimes the print is seen without the word Apotheosis.
10. Washington. Monument. Liverpool.
This design is printed in a scalloped oval. In a landscape with water, ships, and a church, is a monument with a medallion portrait of Washington and the words : " First in War, First in Peace, First in Fame, First in Victory." Fame stands on the right, and a naval officer on the left. In front is an American flag, cannon, swords, etc. Around the edge of the oval are the names of thirteen States. I have several times had a pitcher with this design offered to me for purchase for $8, $10, 0r $15, according to the size and condition ; but I saw one in a jeweller's shop in New York during the Centennial celebration in 1889, marked $150, and it was asserted that it was sold at that price. The revival of interest at that time in anything and everything that related to Washington, of course afforded the explanation of this enormous and absurd price.
11. Washington. Medallion Portrait. Staffordshire.
A poor full-face portrait, not resembling Washington, with same legend as No.. 5. It is marked F. Morris, Shelton.
12. Washington. Profile Portrait. Liverpool.
This is printed in black on small pitchers. Over the portrait the legend, " He is in Glory, America in Tears."
13. Washington. On Horseback. Liverpool.
This design appears upon a gallon bowl in the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society, and also upon oiie in a collection in Newport. Pitchers also have been seen with it. Washington appears mounted, on a battle-field, with the accompanying inscription : " His Excellency General George Washington, Marshal of France, and Commander in Chief of the North American Continental Forces."
Though this inscription dubs Washington a marshal of France, it seems uncertain whether the title was correctly applied. It is said that when Colonel Laurens was special ambassador to France, a discussion arose as to the command of the united armies in America. Of course Laurens insisted firmly that Washington must have absolute control ; but Count de Rochambeau, an old lieutenant-general, could be commanded only by the king or a marechal de France. Laurens with ready wit solved the difficulty by suggesting that Washington be made a marechal. This suggestion was carried out, and the French at Yorktown addressed Washington as Monsieur le Marechal. On the other hand, when ,Lamont, in his volume of poems, addressed Washington by his French title of marechal, Washington wrote to him in 1785, saying : " I am not a marshal of France, nor do I hold any commission or fill any office whatever under that government." This letter would appear to be conclusive evidence.
The bowl also bears a fur-cap portrait of Franklin, the print of the soldier and the British lion described in No. 106, with the legend, " By virtue and valor we have freed our country," and also the " spatch-cock " American eagle and shield.
14. Washington. On Horseback. Liverpool.
This print is similar to No. 13, but is apparently of earlier manufacture.
The mounted figure has the right arm raised. One is upon an octagonal Liverpool plate in the Huntington Collection, and has the inscription, " His Excellency George Washington."
15. Washington. Portrait. Liverpool. Small portrait of Washington in black print on Liverpool pitcher, with a design of Liberty cap and flags, and the verses :
" As he tills your rich glebe your old peasant shall tell, While his bosom with Liberty glows,
How your Warren expired, how Montgomery fell, And how Washington humbled your foes."
16. Washington. Medallion. Liverpool.
A background of weeping willows. In the foreground a monument surmounted by an urn- and bearing a medallion portrait of Washington. Beneath this the arms of the Washington family, and crossed swords with palm or laurel branches. Above the entire design the words, "Washington in Glory." This design resembles No. 3, but is smaller. On the reverse of the pitcher, a design of Ceres and Pomona at either side of a cannon, and a spread eagle with the words, "Peace, Plenty, and Independence."
17. Washington. Map of United States. Staffordshire.
Printed in black on bowls, plates, and pitchers. It is thus wittily described by George Champlin Mason in his book on old Newport : " Washington and Franklin are inspecting a map of the United States, which shows thirteen States.. Liberty and History look smilingly upon the pair, while Fame blows a trumpet and flourishes her heels in dangerous proximity to Washington's head, who is the more prominent of the two, Franklin being screened in part by the pine-tree flag." On this map Louisiana is called the Country of Mines, and stretches up to Lake Superior. The pitcher is marked F. Morris, Shelton. There are three slightly varying prints of this design, one having reference numbers and a key with the names of the figures. A bowl twelve inches in diameter " Map" Pitcher. bearing this print can be seen in the Huntington Collection 'at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There is also one in the Trumbull-Prime Collection. One in Newport bears the date 1796. A pitcher from the Trumbull-Prime Collection with this print is here shown.
18. Washington. Portrait. Liverpool.
A full-face portrait of Washington, with inscription " His Excellency Gen. Washington," and the fur-cap portrait of Franklin, on the outside of a bowl which has on the inside a design of a full-rigged frigate, the Insurgente, and the same legend as No. 101. It also has the motto :
" My love is fixed,
19. Washington. Cameo. Wedgwood.
Made in white on colored grounds and in pure white. Mentioned in Wedgwood's Catalogue of 1787.
20. Washington. Intaglio. Wedgwood.
In highly polished black ware for use as a seal. Though so small a head, the likeness is good. In Wedgwood's Catalogue of 1787. A specimen may be seen in Huntington Collection.
21. Washington. Medallion. Wedgwood.
Made both in black basalt and blue and white jasper. This head is very fine, and an excellent copy may be seen in the Huntington Collection.
22. Washington. Bust. Wedgwood.
This bust is in black basalt. The height is thirteen inches. A fine engraving of it may be seen in Miss Meteyard's " Wedgwood and his Works," numbered Plate XVIII. One is owned by a collector in Chicago.
23. Washington. Medallion. Neale & Co.
An oval medallion in pottery with the head of Washington in high relief.
24. Washington. Statuette. Enoch Wood.
This statuette is fifteen inches high, and is identical in dress and figure with the statuette of Franklin, No. 46, save that the head of Washington is covered with white powdered hair or a white wig, instead of the dark natural locks that grace the Franklin statuette. The head and face only are colored, though the buttons, buckles, and coat ornaments or frogs are gilded. It seems rather unjust in Enoch Wood to put the head of Washington on Franklin's extremely rotund body. In the right hand of the figure is a scroll with vague lettering, and under the left arm a cocked hat. I know of but one of these statuettes with the Washington head ; it is in the Huntington Collection.
25. Washington. Statuette. Badin Frères.
This French statuette is about ten inches in height. Washing-ton is dressed in a yellow coat and blue waistcoat, and carries a scroll marked " Patria." By his side is an American eagle crowing over a broken tablet painted with a picture of the British lion. On the pedestal in gilt letters, " Badin Freres, D'leurs, a Paris." Specimen in the Huntington Collection.
26. Washington. Statuette. Badin Frères.
Statuette of glazed pottery. Washington has his foot on a thoroughly subdued British lion and the British flag. He carries in his hand a scroll with word " Independence." Specimen in the Huntington Collection. The face of this statuette (as well as that of the preceding one, No. 25) bears more of a likeness to the Rembrandt Peale portrait of Washington than to any other.
27. Washington. Parian Pitcher.
An embossed full figure of Washington on a Parian pitcher in the Huntington Collection. Also designs of flags and spread eagles.
28. Washington. Bust. Ralph Wood.
Number G. 367, in the Catalogue of the Museum of Practical Geology in London.. It is thus described :
" Bust of Washington, i0 inches high, in plain cream-colored ware, with impressed mark Ra. Wood, Burslem." Ralph Wood, whose name is stamped on this piece, was the father of Aaron Wood and grandfather of Enoch Wood.
29. Washington. Relief Portrait. Dresden. Profile portrait of Washington in relief, gilded, on bleu de roi ground. On other side similar relief portrait of Franklin. In front an American eagle. Dresden mark. One may be seen in the Trumbull-Prime Collection.
30. Washington. Medallion. Dresden.
Dresden china cup and saucer, gilded without and within. On the cup a blue oval medallion with exquisite head in white relief of profile portrait of George Washington. This beautiful piece is owned by Mrs. Nealy, of Washington, D. C.
31. Washington. Bust.
A bust of Washington in cream-colored oily pottery. It is about four inches in height and is one o fa set comprising busts of Clay, Webster, Calhoun, Lafayette, Franklin, etc. I think the date of manufacture was about 185o. They are common in America. Specimens may be seen in the Huntington Collection.
32. Washington. Mirror Knob.
A portrait of head of Washington, in a cocked hat, on a porcelain mirror knob. A transfer print in black ; sometimes being printed in outline and filled in with pale colors. For description of mirror knobs see page 159 et seq.
33. Washington. Tomb. Wood.
This dark-blue design represents a bewigged man with knee-breeches at the tomb of Washington.. In his hand he carries a scroll. This print is usually known as " Lafayette at the tomb of Washington." The face does not resemble Lafayette, and when Lafayette visited Washington's tomb he wore trousers, knee-breeches being out of date. It has been suggested that the solitary figure is intended for Jefferson. In the background is a view of a town and water, with shipping. The print is usually indistinct and poor, though the color is good. It is seen on all the pieces of tea and toilet services. Impressed mark, Wood.
34. Washington. Funeral Urn. Canton.
The pieces bearing this design are extremely beautiful in shape, quality, and decoration, every detail being perfect. The owner called it Lowestoft, but it is plainly Oriental in manufacture, being of very hard paste, and the character of the design (showing that it was executed after the death of Washington) would hardly point to the Lowestoft manufactory as its place of birth.. The platters and plates have an, open-work basket-design border lined with delicate threads of golden brown and gold. At each intersection of the interlaced border is a tiny embossed rosette colored in gilt or bronze, with a darker centre. The delicacy and beauty of this dainty border can hardly be described. In the centre of each piece, in various shades of gold—both dull and polished gold being combined—is a design of a funeral mound and an urn bearing the word " Washington," overhung by a weeping-willow. The leaves and branches of this tree are models of the gilder's art. On each piece are in gold the gracefully intertwined initials J. R. L., probably the initials of the person for whom the set was made. For beauty of design and workmanship these pieces excel any others I have ever seen bearing any so-called Washington design.
35. Washington Memorial.
This plate, with irregularly scalloped edge, is green in the centre, with red border. The decoration is a scene with a seated classical figure writing upon a tablet, and with a Greek temple in the background. The border contains four medallions of funeral urns and weeping-willows. On the back is stamped in red a funeral urn with the word " Washington," and the initials E. H. Y. S. The printing of this design is very clear and the lines very delicate, and the drawing is good.
36. Washington. Medallion.
A bowl of clear white china with plain band of gilt on the edge. On one side, in blue, a medallion of Washington between two flags, surmounted by a spread eagle. Unmarked.
37. Washington. Funeral Urn.
Plate with pink flower border, centre in green. A statue of Washington and a cinerary urn with the word " Washington."
38. Washington. Portrait.
A portrait of Washington printed in black on a white stone-ware pitcher—apparently modern. Crossed flags painted in colors. This pitcher may have been made to use in a hotel or on a steamboat.
( Originally Published Early 1900's )