This holiday season, the Museum of the American Revolution hopes to raise $2,000 to conserve a piece of early American history in honor of our earliest patriots to display in the future museum. Conservation work will remove stains that have discolored the mug, fix chips in its surface, and add a replacement handle.
Inscribed “Success to ye city of Boston, Liberty For Ever” and depicting a fantastical townscape, this English creamware mug (circa 1770s) evokes the early years of the American Revolution.
Creamware items like this were very popular in Britain and America during the second half of the 18th century (1750-1800). This same period saw the rise of resistance to British rule in America, the American Revolutionary War, and the creation of the United States.
Made in England for the American market, this mug particularly celebrates the American city of Boston as a guardian of Liberty. It may date to the time of the so- called “Coercive Acts” of 1774. Part of the crown’s punishment for the famous Boston Tea Party of 1773, these acts closed the port of Boston and suspended the Massachusetts governing charter. Rather than quelling the growing discontent, the Coercive Acts only stoked the fires of rebellion, and garnered sympathy for Massachusetts in the colonies and among political sympathizers in England.
Political ceramics made for the American market during the rise of resistance to British rule were quite popular. Examples include teapots with “No Stamp Act” emblazoned across the front. Whether the creator of our mug sympathized with the colonial protestors or just sought to capitalize on the conflict to sell his wares remains a mystery.
Thank you for helping us to preserve this piece of history!
Image Courtesy of Alisa Vignalo