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Pitcher

Object Number: 
1961.306
Date: 
1820-1840
Medium: 
Earthenware
Dimensions: 
Overall: 10 1/4 x 9 x 6 1/2 in. ( 26 x 22.9 x 16.5 cm )
Description: 
Pearlware pitcher, wide and high spout with wavy lip, broken scroll handle, and molded bead above foot; purple transfer printed flower and scroll border on lip, handle and foot; view of Benjamin Franklin's experiments with electricity repeated twice on body.
Gallery Label: 
Long before Benjamin Franklin garnered fame as a statesman and diplomat, he was renowned for his revolutionary scientific work, particularly his experiments with lightning and electricity. Working as a printer in Philadelphia during the 1730s, Franklin became fascinated by lightning storms and often related their "mischievous" effects in his newspaper. In 1752, Franklin performed his seminal electrical experiment with a kite, harnessing electricity from the sky, and later that year installed the world's first lightning rods on the Pennsylvania State House and the Pennsylvania Academy. This pitcher is decorated with a depiction of Franklin's kite experiment in an idealized setting more evocative of medieval Europe than 1750s Philadelphia.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Dr. Arthur H. Merritt
Provenance: 
The Dr. Arthur H. Merritt Collection of Anglo-American Historical Staffordshire
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group