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Plate
late 19th-early 20th century
Retailer:Sold by A. E. Brooks , American
Mechanically-molded earthenware with underglaze black and blue decoration and overglaze gilding
Primary Dimensions (diameter): 8in. (20.3cm)
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Description: Round, earthenware plate with an underglaze, printed black pattern, blue border, and gilding at the rim. The black pattern, found in the center of the plate, shows a chubby child, naked and with ringlets in his hair, straddling a barrel with the date "1776" printed on the end. The boy is holding on to a basket filled with fruit that sits in front of him on the barrel. Beneath the barrel are the words, "TRADE MARK/ WINDHAM BACCHUS". Surrounding the pattern at the rim, the blue border consists of meandering vines with flowers leaves. The inside and outside edges of the rim were once gilded, however, much of that gilding has since worn away. All of the surfaces of the plate have crazing.
Subject Note: The Windham Bacchus was created in Windham by four members of the British navy, between 10 June 1776, when British ship "Brombrig" was captured in the Long Island Sound, and 29 November 1776, when the four British prisoners escaped. The carving on the Windham Bacchus is attributed to John Russell, the ship's carpenter. The Windham Bacchus was said to have been carved for a landlady of the tavern on the Windham Green, Mercy Lathrop Fitch Carey, who fed and sustained the prisoners during their imprisonment. The Windham Bacchus was used as a tavern sign in various taverns before being acquired for the collection of Abel E. Brooks (1833-1917) in 1859, who transferred the figure to the Windham Free Library in 1905. The Windham Bacchus was heavily promoted by Brooks, who had souvenirs with the image of the Bacchus printed for sale. (Hunt and Schoelwer 9/24/2004)
Inscription: The following printed inscription is located on the bottom of the plate, "THIS FIGURE/ OF BACCHUS WAS CARVED FROM/ A LOT OF PINE IN THE OLD WINDHAM/ JAIL AT WINDHAM, CONN. BY BRITISH PRISONERS/ OF WAR, WHO WERE CONFINED THERE IN 1776./ IT IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN DONE WITH THEIR JACK-/ KNIVES-THE ONLY TOOLS ALLOWED THEM. THESE/ PRISONERS WERE CAPTURED BY THE AMERICANS IN LONG/ ISLAND SOUND. THEY WERE ON A BRITISH SHIP,/ THE BOMBRIG," CAPTURED JUNE 10, 1776, AND/ BROUGHT TO WINDHAM AS PRISONERS OF WAR./ THEIR NAMES WERE AS FOLLOWS/ EDWARD SNEYD, COMMANDER H. M. S. "BOMBRIG,"/ JOHN GOGGIN, BOATSWAIN, JOHN RUSSELL,/ AND WILLIAM COOK./ MADE BY/ THE WILLETS MANUFACTURING CO./ TRENTON, NJ.,/ FOR/ A. E. BROOKS, HARTFORD,/ CONN."
Object Number: 1979.48.0
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