Sunday, July 14, 2013


I own a plate with a bucolic English scene titled "Cattle & Scenery" by Thomas Mayer (1826-1838).  The scene is charming, but I purchased it because of the intriguing label transfer printed at the top of the plate with the words "Jesse Brown, Washington City."  I learned from an excellent article written by Michael Weinberg for the Transferware Collectors Club Bulletin that Washington DC was known as Washington City for a short time in the first half of the 19th century,  and that Jesse Brown was the owner of a Washington hotel

Jesse Brown  purchased the Davis hotel in 1820 and renamed it Brown's Indian Queen. The Indian Queen was Pocahontas.  Brown ordered a dinner service from Thomas Mayer of Stoke-on-Trent & Longport in Staffordshire.  Each size of the pattern has a slightly different arrangement of cattle. (The word "cattle" is used in the old way to denote all domestic farm animals and not just cows).  Jesse Brown had his name and location printed at the top of each item.  Such good advertising!

"Cattle & Scenery" 10 inch plate by Thomas Mayer (1826-1838).  Note the transfer printed name of the hotel owner at the top of the plate.

"Cattle & Scenery" printed Mayer mark

Jesse Brown's hotel in Washington City (DC) in 1832.  Photo from the Library of Congress