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Blue and White "Beauties of America" Meat Platter with the United States Capitol

Documentation Makers Label/Invoice
Origin England
Period 19th Century
Materials earthenware
W. 20.5 in; D. 15.5 in;
W. 52.07 cm; D. 39.37 cm;
Condition Good. small firing crack only visible on back side
Creation Date 1825-1829
Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, c. 1825-1829

The octagonal earthenware platter with a repeating rose border with an image of the US Capitol building and two equestrians in the foreground.

20½" x 15½"

Condition: Excellent; A two-inch firing crack appears on the back side but is not visible on the front.

According to Ruth Ann Penka writing for the American Antiquarian Society:
"On September 11, 1822, Staffordshire Pottery owner John Ridgway left Liverpool, England, for passage to Boston, Massachusetts, where he began a two-month tour of the Eastern United States in order to procure views of major American cities and establish business relationships with American ceramic merchants. What was unique about Ridgway’s American tour was the journal he kept beginning with his arrival in Boston on October 17, 1822, until his departure on December 7, 1822. 1 Along with gathering American views, Ridgway met with ceramic merchants and dealers in major American cities where he established business relationships and took orders for his pottery. He was very diligent in his business dealings and found the process of establishing business relationships with ceramic merchants a challenge.... Ridgway visited many American cities including Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, and New York. While in each city, he took advantage of their cultural centers visiting the Boston Athenaeum, Charles Wilson Peale’s Museum in Philadelphia, the East India Museum in Salem, book-shops, public news rooms, and public buildings."

"...Leaving Philadelphia on November 7, Ridgway awoke to find himself “alongside the wharf at Baltimore, and immediately repaired to the coach office and set off for Washington, determining to pursue my route to its intent and then to take Baltimore &c on my return.” Unimpressed with the nation’s center of government, Ridgway described Washington, D.C. as a “city in embryo – of which little is to be seen save the plan….” 13 However, after touring the Capitol and White House, the pottery owner later chose the artist H. Brown’s drawing of the Capitol Building or transfer to the largest (20.5” x 15.5”) platter in his Beauties of America dinner service. Brown’s drawing was engraved by Joseph Andrews and later published in Hinton’s The History and Topography of the United States of North America published by Simpkin & Marshall in London in 1830. It is interesting to note that Ridgway’s copperplate engraver added trees and riders on horses to Brown’s stark view. The artist William Russell Birch’s (1755-1834) beautiful aquatint of Mount Vernon which was drawn, engraved and published by the artist in The Country Seats of the United States of North America, ( Bristol, Pennsylvania, 1808) was the source for Ridgway’s vegetable dish with cover. The view of George Washington’s home was a tribute to the young nation’s first president with a ship at full sail in the Potomac and a riderless white horse in the foreground."
Styles / Movements Americana, Staffordshire, Traditional
Dealer Reference Number E-AAA-213159
Incollect Reference Number 448204
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