A superb polychrome transferware tankard adorned with a double-hemispherre world map

Anonymous, The WORLD in Planisphere. [England, ca 1800-1810].
Pearlware mug bearing transfer print with freehand color, 5 3/8"h x 4 7/8" in diameter

A delightful transferware tankard featuring an archaic double-hemisphere world map with allegorical figures of the continents at the corners, all surmounted by a rising sun. The tankard is remarkable for both its vivid polychrome decoration and superb, unrestored condition.

The transfer technique, developed in England in the mid 18th century, involves printing from an engraved plate on to very fine tissue, then using the tissue to transfer the printed image to a piece of pottery while the ink is still wet. In the present case the transfer has been applied to a piece of pearlware, discernable by the faint bluish cast imparted by the addition of cobalt to an opaque white glaze. Though the “World in Planisphere” design appears with some frequency as a transfer decoration, polychrome examples are very uncommon.

A similar design, though uncolored and featuring a more plain cartouche, is illustrated in Teitelman, Halfpenny & Fuchs, Success to America: Creamware for the American Market, p. 263. The design is not in McCauley, Transfer Designs on Anglo-American Pottery.


Remarkably sound, with no restoration and just some minor losses to glaze along rim