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textA Rare George Washington Pearlware Jug
Possibly Herculaneum
Circa 1775
H. 5 3/4" (14.6 cm)
Courtesy of Paul Vandekar, Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge, Inc.

The jug with bands of painted blue decoration to the rim and neck is decorated with a black transfer-print portrait of a military officer with the words GEORGE WASHINGTON below. This jug is extremely rare and appears to be only the second one with this decoration known. In Anglo-American Ceramics (p. 194, #W.2), David and Linda Arman illustrate the only other known example, stating that it was “previously unrecorded” and “unique.”

By 1775, there was a ready overseas market for images of George Washington. Foreign publishers did not wait for accurate portraits of the general to arrive on their shores, and this image depicts a fictitious likeness. As transfer prints were frequently based on actual prints of the time, this image appears to be based on a Campbell print produced in Europe. Thus, with only two such jugs known, one can presume that a true likeness of Washington became available to the pottery maker before full production was started, leaving these two examples as rare early records of the huge interest in England for Washington at the time of the Revolution.

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