University Collections of Art and History

Object Record

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Catalog Number 2008.16.1
Object Name Jug
Description Probably made for a Virginia sea captain (a ship decorates the other side), the jug is decorated with the seal of the commonwealth of Virginia.

Designed in 1776, the seal shows, according to its designers, "Virtus, the genius of the Commonwealth, dressed like an Amazon, resting on a spear with one hand, and holding a sword in the other, and trading on TYRANNY, represented by a man prostrate, a crown fallen from his head, a broken chain in his left hand, and a scourge in his right… the word VIRGINIA over the head of VIRTUS; and underneath, the words Sic semper tyrannis [thus always to tyrants]."

The seal was a symbol of identity and pride for the citizens of one of the largest states in the United States. Reflecting Virginia's place in the new nation, however, it is surrounding the chain of states, a symbol of national unity. Comprising 13 conjoined links, each emblazoned with the name of one of the states, the chain of states was designed by Benjamin Franklin in 1776 for use on continental currency, but it quickly became a popular symbol of unity and interdependence.
Year Range from 1795
Year Range to 1810
Material Creamware (Lead-Glazed Earthenware)
Place of Origin Made in Liverpool or Staffordshire, England
Collection The Reeves Center
Credit line Museum Purchase
On View Reeves Center, European Gallery
Gallery ID Number 115