Now You See Him…

Imagine what political discourse would be like today without bumper stickers.  Transfer print pottery was the “bumper sticker” of the early 19th century. The invention of transfer print pottery was squarely at the fore of a newly evolving mass culture in Europe and America.  While perhaps not the most important outlet for disseminating news and ideas, transfer print pottery played a  uniquely intimate role in insinuating such topics into peoples daily lives.

For example, thanks to the Liverpool factories that churned out transfer print pottery by the shipload, we know a little bit about Phillip Crandall, an early New England politician.

Same Face Philip Crandall

One of his more famous colleagues whose likeness was also forever enshrined on the sides of a Liverpool pitcher was John Hancock.

Same Face John Hancock

Another was James Monroe, the 5th president of the US whose “Monroe Doctrine” boldly declared that the Western Hemisphere was now our little playground.

Same Face James Monroe

Yes, the whole story can still be read on the sides of these humble items…

Readings:

Anglo-American Ceramics, Part 1 Transfer Printed Creamware and Pearlware for the American Market, 1760-1860. Arman, David and Linda.  Oakland Press/Portsmouth, RI.(1998)

American Patriotic and Political China. Marian Klamkin.  Scribner’s and Sons/New York.  1973.

If These Pots Could Talk. Ivor Noël Hume.  University Press of New England/Hanover, NH.  2001.

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4 Responses to “Now You See Him…”

  1. Emerald Islands Polish Pottery Says:

    I never thought of these pieces as bumper-stickers…makes you think. I have always had a great admiration for the people who create this pottery.

  2. Steve Earp Says:

    Quite a bit of transfer print pottery was commemorative in nature. Plenty was simply decorative. But there was also a fairly sizable quantity of tansfer print pottery that was “political” in nature. It is this catagory specifically that seems to me to be the forerunner of the modern bumper sticker.

  3. Flow Blue « This Day in Pottery History Says:

    […] Flow Blue was indistinguishable from regular transfer print ware, blue but hardly ‘flown’ at all.  Such variations merely exemplified how the period’s […]

  4. The Era of Good Feelings | This Day in Pottery History Says:

    […] normal with Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809).  Even if many of his likenesses were really just “clip art” portraits with his name pasted under them.  No matter, as long as the name […]

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