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Four-Gallon Crock

1875-1880
Origin: America, Pennsylvania, York
11 1/2" x 12 1/4" x 12" (29.21 cm. x 31.12 cm. x 30.48 cm.)
Stoneware, salt-glazed, gray with blue and Albany slip interior
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1975.900.2
Slightly blurred cobalt-blue male figure walking with the word "TRAMP" at the lower edge behind the figure. Encircled words from the figure's mouth read "Mr. Brown, please give me a drink". Below lip of crock and above figure's head is printed "J B PFALTSGRAFF & CO/YORK, PA" AND "4".
Label:Many stoneware pieces made by John B. Pfaltzgraff are embellished with decorations that celebrate birthdays, marriages, retirements, and occasionally political opinions. In this case, the slightly blurred caption to the left of the figure reads, "Mr. Brown, please give me a drink," while the caption at his feet identifies him as "A TRAMP." At a time when temperance was an issue of great concern, apparently the potter chose to use the surface of a common crock to deliver a sobering visual message and reminder about the fate of those who drink too much.

Most of the early production of the Pfaltzgraff pottery was earthenware, but by the late 1850's, John B. Pfaltzgraff, probably in conjunction with his brothers George B. and Henry B., were importing stoneware clays from New Jersey and Ohio and cobalt-oxide from Germany.
Provenance:Maze Pottinger Antiques, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Mark(s):Impressed and highlighted with cobalt below the rim is "J B PFALTZGRAFF 7 CO/YORK, PA" and "4".
Inscription(s):"A TRAMP" is written in cobalt on either side of the bottom of the figure, and "Mr. Brown, please give me a drink" is written in cobalt in a baloon emanating from the tramp's pipe.