"Naval Heroes" is a rare jug and one whose subject might seem puzzling without some explan...
"Naval Heroes" is a rare jug and one whose subject might seem puzzling without some explanation. It portrays a scene that never existed--a fantastic monument to the naval leaders of the young republic conjured up in the mind of an illustrator for use as a frontispiece of a book on those heroes. This wedding cake of a pile existed in sentiment rather than stone.
The base of the monument is inscribed with words and names made famous by the Revolution and War of 1812: Washington, Independence, Manly, Truxton and Jones. The monument is hung with garlands of medallions and flags -- all in tribute to the heroes of the two wars. In Elouise Baker Larsen's description of the pattern, she identifies the men represented on the medals -- Bainbridge, Biddle, Blakely, Decatur, Hull, Jones, Lawrence, MacDonough, Perry, Porter, and Stewart.
To increase the illusion of reality, the monument is set in an romantic landscape, appropriately beside a body of water. Small figures to the right admire the monument and give us a sense of its scale. At this very moment, by some patriotic happenstance, an eagle flies right above the monument's apex.
Executed in deep blue, masses of large scale blossoms surround the scene and fill out the collar and foot. A narrow rope detail finishes the edge.
|Dimensions:||Height 9 3/4 in.; width 10 in.; diameter 6 1/4 in.|
|Condition:||Possible Very Subtle Professional Touch-Up and Re-Glazing
This jug, notable for its rarity, its large scale, and its rich cobalt tones commemorates...
This jug, notable for its rarity, its large scale, and its rich cobalt tones commemorates not only naval heroes, but also a curious and largely forgotten artistic genre of its time.
The era of rebellion ushered in by the American Revolution and lasting well beyond the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars also saw the rise of the cult of great men. Those in the forefront of war, politics and even philosophy were idolized by the public. Washington, for example was held in great esteem in Europe as well as America; it is not unexpected that on this jug his name leads a list of naval heroes including some from a war fought years after his death.
One curious manifestation of this romantic hero worship was the appearance of imaginary monuments seen most often in prints and book illustration. Quite different from actual designs for proposed memorials, these fanciful constructions were often set in imaginary landscapes peopled by admiring visitors. Frequently elaborate or preposterous in detail, the monuments served as allegorical vehicles to extol the bravery or virtues of their subjects.
Elouise Baker Larsen identifies the source for the "Naval Heroes" jug in her American Historical Views On Staffordshire China (1939; Dover Reprint 1975, p.251). The original fantasy was drawn by J.R. Penniman, engraved by W.B. Annin, and published as the frontispiece of Naval Monument by Abel Bowen, 1816.