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Detail 2
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Detail 1
Detail 1

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Although ceramics are often associated with the world of women, this pitcher, with its size and imagery, was probably used in a tavern. The subject matter of its images was intended to appeal to men of both high and low-brow tastes. Depicted on one side are Masonic symbols, from the all-seeing Eye of Providence to the black and white checkered floor; each represents different Masonic ideals. Although the Masonic movement was strong in early America with a membership that boasted ambitious businessmen, politicians and professionals, the movement's strength came under scrutiny in the 1820s. Ministers of the Second Great Awakening aroused the suspicions of the public of the philosophical underpinnings of Masonry, while others decried Masons as being undemocratic in their practices. The fraternal organization survived this controversy and still exists today. The opposite side of the jug appeals to more low-brow tastes. Its central image, "Toby Filpot," is typically shown as a bulky old man holding a jug of ale and a pipe. Filpot was a popular character in the song "Toby Filpot" or "The Brown Jug" composed in 1761 by the Rev. Francis Fawkes. Filpot was endearing because most English pubs had at least one regular customer who closely resembled Toby.


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date   1795-1800
location   Liverpool, England
width   8.4375"
height   8.75"
process/materials   ceramic
item type   Household Goods/Container
accession #   #1885.41.02

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