In order to complement the Hood’s extensive collection of American silver, the museum is making a concerted effort to build comparable collections of American glass and ceramics. The acquisition of this pair of pitchers represents a significant advance toward this goal. The Philadelphia factories associated with William Ellis Tucker were the first moderately successful manufacturers of porcelain in the United States.
Pitchers are among the earliest and most popular forms associated with Tucker. A published advertisement from 1827 mentions “a Few pair of American China Pitchers . . . being a part of his first kiln.” Other references, and a large number of surviving pairs, suggest that the factories frequently produced pitchers in twos. The quality and complexity of the painted and gilded decoration of Tucker wares varied considerably, depending on the intended market. Skillfully painted, naturalistic floral bouquets adorn this pair, along with an elaborate scheme of gilded laurel wreaths and borders of stars, leaves, and musical trophies that reflects the neoclassical taste of the period.