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Produced in England in the 1790s, this ceramic punch bowl was made to be purchased by an American. The exterior of the bowl is decorated with a likeness of Benjamin Franklin, the Great Seal of the United States, and a likeness of General George Washington based on Swiss-born artist Pierre Eugène Du Simitière’s 1779 portrait of the general. The exterior also features a short poem, “Health to the Sick / Honour to the Brave: / Success to the Lover: / and Freedom to the / Slave,” originally published in England in 1717. Inspired by the American Revolution, debates about combatting both political slavery and racial slavery flourished in both Great Britain and America. It is unknown if the owner of this bowl intended for the poem to be a call for an end to the enslavement of people of African descent or a celebration of the success of the United States in combating British tyranny. However, the bowl is an example of how people used everyday objects to express their opinions and provoke conversation during the American Revolution. 

Object Details

  • Punch Bowl
    Attributed to Herculaneum Pottery
    Liverpool, England
    Museum of the American Revolution

Take a Different Look

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