Wednesday, August 7, 2013


 Menagerie was the word used to describe a collection of wild animals kept for exhibition before the invention of the word zoo.  Zoo came into common parlance around the 1840s.  It is a shortened form of zoological.  I learned this information because I purchased a charming jug covered with animal patterns titled "Menageries."

"Menageries" jug, 6 inches high by 4.5 inches in diameter, ca. 1840/Tiger and Snake/Notice the molded dog handle

"Menageries" jug/Elephant and Alligator (Crocodile?)

"Menageries" jug/Golden Eagle/Notice the molded stag's head under the spout and the squirrel and hare printed on either side of the eagle

"Menageries" jug/Two small birds by the handle

"Menageries" jug/Insects printed inside the rim

"Menageries" printed mark (missing the "e" and "s")

As the editor of the Animals category for the Transferware Collectors Club Pattern and Source Print Database, I quickly went to my book shelf to find the source prints for the animals on my jug.  I found the tiger, the elephant, the hare and the squirrel in my copy of Thomas Bewick's "A General History of Quadrupeds," which was published in 1790.  The eagle was in Bewick's "A History of British Birds, Vol. I," 1797.   Sadly, the source prints for the snake, the alligator (maybe it's a crocodile), and the insects eluded my search.

Thomas Bewick, 1790

Thomas Bewick, 1790

Thomas Bewick, 1797

Thomas Bewick, 1790

Thomas Bewick, 1790

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