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GREAT AUSTRALIA and LONDON

Date: c 1866
Dimensions:
210 x 230 x 120 mm, 2.1 lb. (0.94 kg)
Medium: Ceramic
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Jug
Object No: 00039546

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    Description
    This large earthenware jug is decorated with black transfer prints of the clipper ship GREAT AUSTRALIA and the steamship LONDON. It also features a poem printed inside a floral border. Ceramic ware such as this was often commissioned at the launch or loss of a vessel. This jug was produced at a pottery in Sunderland, England and was probably made to commemorate the loss of both the GREAT AUSTRALIA and LONDON.
    SignificanceThis jug represents souvenir pieces produced for the lower to middle classes during the mid-19th century. It highlights the loss of the clipper ship GREAT AUSTRALIA and the steamship LONDON.
    HistoryA number of potteries were active at Sunderland, England in the 19th century. These potters specialised in pink lustreware and often did not hallmark their items. They commonly produced jugs, mugs, pots and wall plaques decorated with black transfer prints of the Sunderland region, shipping, rural scenes or religious subjects. Clipper ships were part of everyday life in the mid-19th century and potters often commemorated great ships or fast voyages in their work.

    The trademark pink lustreware of Sunderland potters was created by spraying fine drops of oil onto newly painted lustre while it was wet. When the lustre was fired, the little pools of oil left a mottled surface. Lustreware can be recognised by its iridescent surface which is created by painting glazed pottery with a mixture of silver, gold, platinum or copper dissolved in acid. The colour of yellow indicates the presence of silver, ruby indicates gold, silver indicates platinum and red or pink indicates copper. In the 19th century copper was by far the most common and cheap lustreware available. It predominantly features in Sunderland wares.

    The GREAT AUSTRALIA was a wooden bark built in New Brunswick, Canada in August 1860. The 1,661-ton, wooden, three-masted clipper ship was specifically designed to cater for the growing number of immigrants coming to Australia. It was owned by the Liverpool line Wright & Co and used for transporting cargo and passengers between Liverpool and Melbourne from 1861 to 1864. It wrecked off the coast of Burma on 14 July 1865 while carrying a cargo of rice bound for Liverpool.

    The SS LONDON was a 1,429 ton iron screw steam ship that was used on the Australian trade route. It was travelling from Plymouth to Australia on 1 January 1866 when it sank in the Bay of Biscay, only ten days into its journey. The ship and 220 passengers were lost.

    The poem on the jug reads:

    Love
    There's sunshine on the sea my love
    There's beauty oe'r the skies
    But fairer seem thy looks my love
    And brighter are thine eyes

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