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A 1900 Wedgwood Jug Commissioned by George H Ellwanger

March 8, 2011

An  Antique Commissioned by George Herman Ellwanger to Commemorate the Turn of the Century

by Philip Mannino

These pictures  illustrate a blue and white transferware jug that was manufactured by Josiah Wedgwood and sons in Erutria, England.  It is known as a commemorative piece specific to the City of Rochester, NY.    George H. Ellwanger was wholly responsible for it’s creation. I believe it was he who had the forethought to have this wonderful piece made specifically as he saw fit.  It was probably made for him to give to a group of his closest friends and allies.   There were 52 only made.  The jug is part of the history of Rochester from a member of a the illustrious Ellwanger family.

The Front of the Antique Jug - Click for Larger Version

This Wedgwood jug commemorates Rochester as the Flower City.  On the front, the circle insignia reflects Rochester settled in 1812, and incorporated a city 1834. Within the circle image is the banner held by the eagle that read, “Flour City”. Also in the left side is an image of the rail system, above that, an image of the “Old Capitol”, and on the right side are Rochester’s Lower Falls. At the bottom of the insignia are the populations of people in 1813 and 1892, which is 331 and 144,834 respectively. And the two ladies on each side of the insignia are holding a cornucopia on the left, and wheat sheaves on the right.

The Right Side of the Antique Wedgewood Jug

The Right Side of the Antique Jug - Click for Larger Version

The right side of the Wedgwood jug commemorates Rochester’s Old Court House. In the image, at street level are the carriages pulled by horses. This is the exact image of the court house found in historian’s books of Rochester history. George H. Ellwanger must’ve gone to the court house and requested an exact image to forward to Josiah Wedgwood Pottery in England to transfer the image to the pottery. Surrounding the oval image are dogwood leaves and the dogwood flowers in bloom. Below the oval image in the darker border are fruit images of peaches, pear, grapes, and plums which is appropriate for the son of George Ellwanger who fully understands where his roots are.
Above the oval image is a continuation of the Prize Ode of Frederic

The Left Side of the Antique JWedgwood Jug

The Left Side of the Antique Jug - Click for Larger Version

Whittlesey, in part,

“Behold! a change which proves e’vn fiction true-
More springing wonders than Aladdin knew!
Proud domes are reared upon the gray wolf’s den
And forest beasts have fled their haunts for men!”

Now when you think about it, there is that dome that Whittlesey is probably referring to. Clever that Geo. H. Ellwanger recognized this enough to commemorate Rochester’s evolution.

The left side of the Wedgwood jug shows an image of Indians all looking to what I perceive as east as one is pointing in that direction as if to point towards Rochester. As we all know, they were here first, and progress forced them in the opposite direction. That was part of the progression of any evolving city. I believe that is what Geo. H. Ellwanger is commemorating here. It is little known that there once was a common path the Indians took through the grounds of the Ellwanger estate on Mt. Hope Ave.

Above the oval image of the Indians is the banner of the Prize Ode in 1826 by Frederic Whittlesey which reads,

“These glittering spires and teeming streets confess
That man, -Free Man- hath guell’d the wilderness,
Before him forests fell- the desert smiled-
And he hath rear’d this City Of The Wild.”

The Bottom of the Antique Jug

The Bottom of the Antique Jug - Click for Larger Version

On the bottom of this commemorative jug it reads in full, “52 jugs only, manufactured specifically for G.H. Ellwanger, by Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, Etruria, England.”

The pottery mark on the bottom proves it was made April 1900.

(All photos and text courtesy  Philip Mannino)

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