Sunday, December 24, 2017

POINSETT, CHILE, AND AMERICAN DIPLOMACY ON TRANSFERWARE


Davenport (1794-1887) 19.75 inch by 15.75 inch platter "Poinsett's Defence (sic)," ca. 1835.

I started this blog to share with you many of the things I learn from the study of transferware.  I am still pleasantly surprised when I discover something new.*  There was a beautiful red printed platter on eBay that showed what appears to be a political rally in the center and a border filled with the the eagle and motto (E Pluribus Unum) of the seal of the United States.   The pattern is not found in any of my books nor is it known by any of my more knowledgeable transferware friends.  So, I did some research and some educated guessing.


Center of the platter.

Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779-1851), who may be the man on the balcony holding the American flag, was the American Consul in Chile. He was appointed by President James Monroe in 1809.  Although Chile was still part of Spain and the United States was diplomatically neutral, Poinsett wrote a constitution for Chile that was modeled on the Constitution of the United States. The celebration of this new constitution, July 4, 1812 (note the significance of July 4), may be the theme of this pattern.  The words "Poinsett's Defence (sic)," which are printed under the center of the pattern, may refer to Poinsett's defense of Chile's desire for independence from Spain.  Although the American flag in the center pattern and the seal of the United States in the border indicate the strong ties of the United States and Chile, remember that the United States continued to remain neutral in Chile's fight for independence.  It is odd that the U.S. Consul, Poinsett, seemed to act on his own. Something I doubt.  From what I have read, it's hard to know where idealism and self interest begin and end.  Mainly on the part of the United States.

I will add that I never heard of Poinsett before, although I may have read that he gave his name to the ubiquitous plants that are popular at Christmas.  I also learned that he was one of the founders, among many other things in his interesting life, of the Smithsonian Institution.  I may be wrong about everything I have written.  Let me know what you think!


The Poinsettia is named for Joel Roberts Poinsett

*Transferware patterns continue to be an education.  I added this one to the Transferware Collectors Club Database of Patterns and Sources (nearly 15,000 patterns and 800 sources).  If you like learning new things as well as looking at beautiful items, join the TCC!

4 comments:

  1. Made me go and read about Poinsett - I find that ceramics leads me to all kinds of interesting history. Love your blog for the same reason, thanks for this seasonal discovery.

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