English salt-glazed stoneware punch bowl decorated in green, pink, black, purple, blue, orange-red, yellow, and brown. The interior has a three-masted sailing ship with flags and pendants flying, with the inscription in black on a purple scrolling banner, "SUCCES. TO THE. FRIENDSHIP, Capt PEIRCE." over the ship, and the date "1760" flanked by two green fish under the ship. The exterior has three outdoor scenes: a seated lady in purple and a standing sailor in blue with red and white stripes, with a staff over his shoulder and a purse of money; a Caribbean scene of five black laborers loading barrels with plant material possibly tobacco, with hills in the background; and a harbor scene with ships, three towered buildings in front of three blue mountains, and a turreted tower, and men in small punts. The scene could possibly be a representation of slave castles along the coast of West Africa - where enslaved people were incarcerated before being sold. Punch bowls are usually for social occasions; but ship bowls, such as this one, were often prestigious, presentation pieces personalized with hand-painted decoration and inscriptions to celebrate or toast a successful voyage. These bowls were undoubtedly not taken to sea, but displayed at the home of the "Captain." The scenes may refer to the ingredients of punch - sugar, rum, and lemons - that were shipped from the West Indies to England and its mainland colonies, and the slave labour that supported that trade. In the late 18th century, Liverpool (where this bowl may have been painted) was very involved in the Atlantic Slave Trade; 61 of 161 English-built slave ships were built there. Manufactured goods from the Manchester area and were exchanged for enslaved people in West Africa; the enslaved people were delivered to America or the West Indies; and the ships returned to England with rum, tobacco, woods, molasses, and cotton.
slavery; enslaved persons
Link to share this object record: