Decorator: Boston China Decorating Works (1860–ca. 1925)
Date: ca. 1865
Geography: Made in Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Medium: Porcelain, overglaze enamel decoration, and gilding
Dimensions: H. 9 5/8 in. (24.4 cm); Diam. 9 1/4 in. (23.5 cm)
Credit Line: Purchase, Alan E. Salz Gift, 1986
Accession Number: 1986.110
Three brilliantly gilded and enameled pitchers, featuring commissioned designs painted by anonymous decorators in New York, Boston, and Trenton, illustrate the widespread popularity of this form as well as the increasing competition in the ceramic trade. Such durable pitchers were used at home, in hotels and restaurants, and on steamboats and railways. One pitcher, probably exhibited at the New York Crystal Palace exhibition of 1853 by retailer Haughwout & Daily, bears a rendering of the great seal of the United States, suggesting a possible china pattern for a presidential service. Haughwout & Daily, later E. V. Haughwout & Company, in New York City, was the nation’s oldest and largest retailer of ceramics and glass and the first with an in-house china-decorating department.
Elaborate gilded flowers and scrolling foliage enrich the purplish red ground of a pitcher decorated at the Boston Decorating Company for the Swasey family in 1865. A third pitcher, with reserves enclosing a bouquet of pansies on one side and the initials JT and an American flag on the other, demonstrates the high-quality china decorating executed, in this case on an American blank, at the Greenwood Pottery in Trenton.