This pottery jug depicts scenes from Uncle Tom 's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, published in 1852, just a few years before the outbreak of the Civil War. The book was a runaway success in both the United States and and Britain. The story of Uncle Tom publicized the suffering of enslaved Black Americans and generated huge support for the abolitionist movement. Smear-glazed, greenish-gray-colored stoneware jug decorated with two relief molded scenes from Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852). One side with a scene of a slave auction, and the other with a scene of the escape of the enslaved woman Eliza across the Ohio River. The slave auction shows four enslaved individuals (a man, a young girl, a woman and child), the auctioneer at his podium, and three men on the opposite side, the podium has a broadside with the inscription, "By Auction/ this Day/ A Prime Lot/ of healthy/ NEGROES," the opposite side shows Eliza holding her 5 year old son Harry racing across the ice floes of the Ohio River while being persued by a slave catcher with a bull whip; there is a molded palm tree under the spout, the attached handle is shaped in the form of an enslaved male possibly Uncle Tom in shackles and chains holding his hands in supplication, the maker's mark impressed on the underside of the jug reads, "Published by / E. Ridgway & Abington, / Hanley, / January 1, 1853" The interior of the jug is lead glazed. The cast pewter lid conforms to the shape of the jug's mouth and is composed of dark-colored pewter or pot metal with hinge and scroll finial, it attachs to the jug through pins into the ceramic, and there is an indistinct maker's mark on the hinge. Condition: There is a hairline firing crack where the two halves of the jug were joined before firing. Pewter lid is loose. Leonard Stanley Abington was a modeller who worked for Phillips and Bagster and became the "and Co." with William Ridgway. He appears to be the artist responsible for the molded jugs and other wares.
slavery; enslaved persons; antislavery movements
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