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  EARLY BOHEMIAN MILK GLASS MUG WITH PATRIOTIC AMERICAN IMAGERY THAT INCLUDES AN EAGLE, 16 STARS, AND THE CAPTION “LIBERTY”, circa 1796-1803
Dimensions (inches): 5" tall x 4" diameter (5" at handle's widest point)
Description:
This beautiful, rare, Bohemian milk glass mug was made in either the last few years of the 18th century or the opening of the 19th century. Produced for the American market, the gilded and painted decoration consists of a large eagle within an open wreath of laurel leaves, signifying glory and victory, tied below with a salmon red/pink ribbon. The word “Liberty” appears above the eagle’s head in gold gilt, presented in a tremendous, whimsical manner. To the left and right, cradling the central image, are a total of 16, 8-pointed, gilt-painted stars, executed like the rowels of a spur. The rim is trimmed in gilt. The folk art impact of the stylized eagle and the overall design are excellent. The irregularities of the hand-blown vessel, with its wavy rim and slight irregularity in the disposition of its form, very pleasant to the eye, but apparent on closer inspection, contribute to its hand-made appearance.

I believe the star count to be purposeful and a means of identification to a very narrow date window, between 1796 . I previously acquired and sold a very similar example with 13 stars, presented 6 to the right and left with one additional at the top.

Tennessee joined the Union as the 16th state on June 1st, 1796, when Washington was still in the White House. John Adams was elected later that year, narrowly defeating Thomas Jefferson, who then won in 1900. Ohio followed Tennessee, becoming the 17th state on February 19th, 1803, during the Jefferson administration.

Bohemian milk glass is often misidentified as Bristol glass. Citations of similar mugs include the following*:

Antiques, March 1925, First page of text, where a short article discusses items made in Europe by glassmakers to cater to the "patriotic susceptibilities of the freshly liberated Colonies." A similar mug (incorrectly identified as Bristol) is illustrated and another, belonging to the New York Historical Society, also with the motto "Liberty," is mentioned.

Antiques, December 1925, p. 346, "White Glass" by E. Barrington Haynes, where on page 347 an identical mug is illustrated (incorrectly listed as French).

Christies, "A Fine Collection of European White Glass (part II), London, Tuesday, June 22, 1976," lot 140 where a decanter is illustrated with extremely similar decoration and is correctly catalogued as late 18th century Bohemian milkglass.

"Glas", by Walter Spiegl, pub 1979, page 105 for another example.

* My sincere thanks to antique porcelain expert Paul Vandekar for the correct identification of the form and the above documentation of similar examples.

Condition: There was a hairline running from the center of the front of the into the white area to the eagle’s proper right. This was expertly repaired and is almost invisible. This was cosmetic only. There was no issue with structural integrity before or after.
   
Primary Color: multicolored
Earliest Date: 1796
Latest Date: 1803
For Sale Status: Sold
Price SOLD
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com
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