An extremely rare and possibly unique pearlware jug with two black bat prints commemorating George III and his 4th son, the Duke of Kent (who was the father of Queen Victoria).
There are black enamel lines around the neck, upper rim, and above the foot, with simple painted floral decoration on handle. Clear pearlware glaze which shows blue where it pools.
The bat print on obverse shows a bust of George III in military / naval dress, facing half to dexter, encaptioned “His Sacred Majesty KING GEORGE III.” On reverse: A bust of the Duke of Kent in military dress also facing half to dexter, encaptioned “DUKE of KENT”.
These royals (father and son) died within six days of each other, the Duke of Kent on 23rd January 1820 and George III on the 29th of the same month and year.
According to John & Jennifer May, ‘Commemorative Pottery 1780-1900’ (1972), p.30-31, “For the Duke of Kent there is only one known commemorative transfer, almost certainly published at his death – a simple bust portrait … in military uniform encaptioned ‘The Duke of Kent’. This is a rare print and has been seen only on children’s plates and, with a small variation, on spill vases. In both cases black printed…Transfers of the death of George III are also hard to come by. The only one which the authors know and which is specifically commemorative shows a bust profile portrait of George III in uniform, with the inscription ‘Sacred to the Memory of George III who died 29 Jan 1820’. … in blue. [not illustrated]”
An exact match for the Duke of Kent print (in purple) appears on an extremely rare beaker illustrated in 'Printed English Pottery, History and Humour in the reign of George III 1760-1820' by D. Drakard (1992), p.257, pl.745 which apparently also has the same George III print on the other side (not shown).
These prints are extremely rare. My enquiries and research have failed to find any other instances of them appearing on a jug, which may indicate that this jug is unique.
The beakers were made circa 1818 but it seems likely that this jug was created in haste to commemorate the death of both figures in such a short time in 1820. Probably made in Staffordshire.
118.5 mm highest to top of spout.
Small chips on spout lip. A spider crack in the base with one leg extending a short way into the front body (approx. 40mm). There are typical scratches / wear to the bat prints and also some wear to the black enamel decoration (especially on top of rim).