Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous blue toned relief moulded pitcher celebrating the European revolutionary hero of 1860, Garibaldi.

Looking more like Jesus in a Three Musketeers get-up, there is no resemblance to the real Garibaldi at all. But it says Giuseppe Garibaldi on both sides of the portrait so there is no mistake.

This 19th century pitcher probably belonged to a Canadian immigrant who longed to see his home country freed from the petty royal princes - including the Pope himself - who kept Italians in medieval thrall and division.

Philippe Hébert - Canada's most famous Victorian and Edwardian sculptor - was one of many other Canadian Catholics who went, as volunteer men of conscience, to serve their God and their Pope against the tide of History and the "heathen" democratic hordes of Garibaldi.

It merely goes to show that "actresses should act, singers should sing, and carvers should carve, and not try to intellectualize on important matters of state or politics" something proved nightly on television talk shows.

The Pope, and Philippe, were losers in the campaign as Garibaldi and the popular surge for democratic unity - the Risorgimento - would not be denied. The pope retreated inside his Vatican walls and Philippe, surviving the wars, retreated to Quebec to carve, something he was good at.

In the 1930s many Canadian volunteers similarly went to fight in Spain, but on the side of the Republicans, in their fight against the Fascists under General Franco and his allies, the German Nazis.

Go to Philippe Hébert

Relief Moulded Pitcher, Giuseppe Garibaldi, c 1860
Orig. stoneware - Size - 20 cm
Found - Kingston, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

This is another superb example of a relief moulded pitcher which features the rifle company volunteers.

In 1859 Britain started to organize volunteer rifle companies for home defence.

On mainland Europe, Austrian and French armies, which were warring in Italy, caused concern in England where it was feared the professional British "Thin Red Line" and the navy might not be enough to stave off a possible military attack from the growing continental armies.

The regular British forces of the period drew its officers from the landed and upper classes, and its rank and file from the lower classes. By 1860 some 130,000 men, mostly drawn from the middle class, were drilling in the UK.at their own expense and in uniforms they paid for.

The pitcher features a typically accoutered rifleman of the period and celebrates the nation wide pride in this patriotic movement, which injected new skill sets and education into the British forces of the day.

Canada had loosely organized militia units after the British Conquest because the population was so widely dispersed that regular military units could not adequately provide protection against American attack.

In the 1850s, as a ripple effect from the British volunteer movement, the militia was reorganized with the first regular units set up in Montreal and Toronto.

The uniforms were patterned after the British so the pitcher - found in Canada - could accurately reflect the Canadian volunteer who successfully beat off the Fenian (American Irish) invaders of 1866.


Relief Moulded Pitcher, Rifle Company Volunteer - 1856
Orig. stoneware - Size - 23 cm
Found - Napanee, ON

An 1890s wedge cap with a badge that exudes pride in being only the 2nd Canadian militia unit to be formed, the Queen's Own Rifles of Toronto, in 1862.

Go to Canadian Militiaman James McKerihen

6 - Victorian Relief-Moulded Jugs - 1854-1898

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Great Canadian Heritage Treasure This is a superb example, not only of a historic memorabilia pitcher but of the fine art of the relief moulded jug or pitcher.

The true relief moulded jug emerged in the 1830s as a distinct art form, being made by pressing wet clay into a mould (as opposed to throwing it on a wheel or modeling it by hand.) William Ridgway of Hanley was the first and most important maker of these jugs, mostly in tan stoneware, registering his first pattern on October 1, 1835 with a trademark similar to the one on this jug.

They were called relief moulded because a raised pattern or decoration was either, included in the original press mould, or applied afterwards to give the surface a 3D look. In all cases the handles were pressed separately and applied.

Many other makers made thousands of these relief moulded jugs in many patterns and colours. Since they were designed to be used as water, beer or milk pitchers in homes and pubs, breakage was enormous. So ones in mint condition, as this one is, are rare treasures indeed.

Go to Crimean Pitcher

Relief Moulded Pitcher, Crimean War - 1856
Orig. stoneware - Size - 26 cm
Found - Halifax, NS
Signed E Ridgway & Abington, Hanley August 1, 1856
Pitcher or Jug? The two words are used interchangeable by many people to denote a liquid pouring container with a handle and spout. More correctly, a jug has a very narrow neck, often with a plug; a pitcher has a broader open mouth, which, as it gets narrower, evolves into a jug... But there is a lot of overlap in shapes where the separation in definition is lost. Small pitchers are called creamers.
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Easily the most fabulous relief-moulded salt glaze pitcher ever produced has got to be this very heavy Pitcher of the Nations made for the London Exhibition of 1862..

It has the most richly relief moulded surface on pitcher and handle that we have ever seen. Clearly it was intended to impress the visitors to the exposition as being the last word in relief moulded jugs.

It has a heraldic crest topped by a crown and a banner identifying all the leading nations of the world - that were deemed to matter - in the 1850s.

The usual ones are there: Russia, Austria, Great Britain, France, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, America.

The odd ones are more interesting.

Germany is missing, since it was not created until 1871.

So some of the Germanic principalities are there instead: Bavaria, and Prussia, which would take the lead in bringing together the many Germanic duchies and dukedoms, by force in the 1860s.

Italy is missing too. But Sardinia and The Papal States are there instead.

In the 1850s the Pope was a sovereign secular prince over his own territory and people, like the King of England. Italy too - like Germany at the time - was broken up into many smaller principalities, including Sardinia.

The Popes liked it that way and opposed a unification of all Italians which was gathering steam - the Risorgimento - under Garibaldi's democratic hordes.

It was Garibaldi, in the 1860s, who with his victorious March of the Thousand, launched a military campaign to overthrow these medieval princes who thwarted the political progress of Italians - the people's demand for democracy and the unity of Italian people under one government.

His campaign led to the military defeat of the pope, in 1871, sending the pontiff skulking, in defeat, behind the Vatican's walls, ending his reign as a secular prince, and losing his territories to the new state of Italy.


Relief Moulded Pitcher, Jug of the Nations, 1862
Orig. stoneware - Size - 30 cm
Found - Brighton, ON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This pitcher was produced for the London International Exhibition on Industry and Art of 1862, to showcase, for the world, the enormous technological and artistic achievements of Great Britain.

36 foreign nations participated and 6.1 million visitors toured the displays. 29,000 exhibitors showcased their wares, including some 2,600 from the British colonies. No doubt Canadians were there.

This pitcher was made to reflect this peaceful intercourse of people from many nations.

At the top is Belgium; below is Portugal with the towers; right the Papal States with the crossed keys, surmounted by a mitre not a crown; bottom left is Sardinia - which was the arch enemy of the pope and the driving force behind Italian unification and ultimately provided Italy its first king and prime minister; bottom centre is Spain and to the right, the cross of Greece.

This pitcher was produced in a red toned version as well, and is by far the heaviest on this page, tipping the scale at a huge 3 kgs which is why the handle is double mounted on top and on the bottom. Filled with water or milk it would be impossible to lift unless one used two hands. It was obviously a decorator piece only.

The exhibition had as many visitors as the earlier more famous Great Exhibition of 1851, but it was heavily criticized for the building left, which, after the glassy Crystal Palace of the earlier exposition, critics called the "ugliest building in London."

Captain Francis Fowke (1823 -1865) of the Royal Engineers who had designed it was roundly berated for his "wretched shed."

No doubt he was proud of the two domes, the largest ever built. Still the building was torn down two years later.

A new competition for anonymous submissions was announced for a design for the Museum of Natural History to be built on the same site.

The winner was - you guessed it - Captain Fowke. The judges were the same people who had denounced his earlier building...

Sadly the Captain died before he could see his building erected.

He lives on in other buildings he designed: Royal Albert Hall, Royal Museum in Edinburgh, National Gallery of Ireland, parts of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The Royal Engineers struck a bronze medal right in his honour in 1865. They continue to award the Fowke Medal for outstanding achievements in engineering.

The medal displays the engraving genius of George T Morgan, who also designed the liberty head US dollar, first struck in 1878.

What a story this pitcher can tell...

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous relief-moulded pitcher celebrating the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales, George and Mary, in 1893.

Canadian potteries could not produce pitchers of this quality so commemorative jugs like these were imported from the British Isles.

These commemorative white relief-moulded jugs are very rare and were still popular sixty years after they first appeared on the market.

George and Mary would tour Canada in 1901 during the Boer War to thank Canada for its participation and hand out medals to veterans.

They laid the corner stone for a Boer War memorial in Halifax.

Go to Boer War Memorial

George would return again, alone, to help Canada celebrate its Tercentenary in 1908 at Quebec.

Go to The Tercentenary of 1908

He and Mary would finally ascend the throne in 1911 as King George V and Queen Mary.


Relief Moulded Pitcher, Wedding of Prince & Princess of Wales, George & Mary, 1893
Orig. stoneware - Size - 23 cm
Found - Port Hope, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A very rare relief-moulded jug of long serving British Liberal Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.


Gladstone had ended the First Boer War in 1881, by concluding a peace favourable to the Boers. But many British conservative politicians, businessmen, and generals, longed for revenge and a chance to overturn his seeming capitulation to lowly Dutch farmers.

Go to Gladstone & Majuba Hill

Relief Moulded Pitcher, Prime Minister WE Gladstone - 1898

Orig. stoneware - Size - 19 cm
Found - Odessa, O
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The front of the jug shows the mould lines that were often present on these pitchers..

The Prince of Wales feathers are there under the spout.

The cameos show clearly how they stand out in high relief from the sides of the jug, so giving this kind of its name: "relief moulded."


Another Canadian stoneware jug commemorating the same wedding in 1893.

Jugs like these two, though made in England, have spent the last 110 years in Canada, and reflect a time when Anglo-Canadians, at least, were fanatic supporters of the royal family ties to Canada.

Barely six years later, this loyalty would switch from buying celebratory jugs to putting their lives on the line to support the perceived threat to Queen Victoria by the Boers of South Africa.

As the drums of war beat across the land Canadians - virtually exclusively people of Anglo backgrounds - polished their jugs and sent off some 6,000 volunteers - not regular forces - to walk the walk not just talk the talk, in support of their Mother country

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The Risorgimento - Count Cavour, Prime Minister of Sardinia left was the chief architect of the union of the italian states, through warfare and agreements with other nations, during the 1850s.

But the southern half of Italy - including the very problematic Papal States - remained independent. No one wanted to fight the head of the Catholic Church since he was the one who held the keys to Heaven shown on his heraldic crest above.

That's where the fearless Garibaldi right came in. He landed with a rabble of a thousand democratically enthused Italian revolutionaries in Sicily, defeated the armies of the King there and crossed to the mainland of the southern boot.

The Royalist forces fled; southern Italy was his, and he hammered on the gates of Rome where the Pope was quaking in his slippers. The problem was the French army was protecting him, and Cavour did not want to fight French forces, which he would have to do to get at the papal army protecting the city which Italians wanted as their capital.

Garibaldi turned over his conquests of southern Italy to King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia. Count Cavour became Italy's first Prime Minister.

But Rome remained in the Pope's military fist. It would take an Act of God to break his grasp. And He acted.

France was also against the unification of Germany, which was going on at the same time as the turmoil in Italy. When Germany attacked France during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 France withdrew its troops from Rome to help defend the homeland. The Pope was unprotected. The Italian army marched in and Italy was unified with its capital in Rome.