Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wedgwood Bicentennial Plates

These beautiful Wedgwood Commemorative Plates that were created for our country's bicentennial are such nice pieces of transferware.  Set on Queen's Plain earthenware, the black copperplate engravings provide a glimpse into the birth of this nation.  The 13 colonies that were seeking independence from British rule in the 18th century are depicted in the 9" plates, with a momentous scene from this historic time.  Go through these plates and read about Caesar Rodney's historic gallop toward the Continental Congress and the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.  I hope you enjoy them.





Delaware: The First State
  • Rodney's Historic Gallop: July 1, 1776 - The Continental Congress sat in deadlock in Philadelphia.  Delaware, with only two of its three delegates present, was divided over Independence, and their most staunch patriot, Caesar Rodney, was away fighting Tories.  An urgent message saw him make an 80 mile gallop across country, through driving rain, to swing Delaware into Independence.  On July 2nd, the vote was unanimous - "that the good people of these States... reject & renounce all allegiance to Kings of Great Britain."



The underside (I provided this sole picture as an example of what all 13 plates look like underneath).



Pennsylvania: The Second State
  • Drafting the Declaration: Philadelphia home of one of the most dazzling figures of the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin, was both the cultural and commercial center of North America in 1776.  It was there that the Philosopher of Liberty, Thomas Jefferson, guided by Franklin and John Adams, drafted the momentous Declaration of Independence...most perfectly, representing the ideals and beliefs of the Americans, who on July 2, 1776, voted for it, and were prepared, if necessary, to die for it.



New Jersey: The Third State
  • Nassau Hall at Princeton: America almost certainly won the Revolution in New Jersey between Christmas night 1776 and the opening days of the New Year.  Their stirring victories at Trenton and Princeton were turning points in the war, and even England's minister Lord George Germain admitted "All our hopes were blasted by that unhappy affair."  Remaining British troops took refuge in the University's Nassau Hall, but surrendered instantly when American artillery fired a cannon ball through a window, symbolically removing King George II's head on a portrait.


Georgia: The Fourth State
  • A Heroine at War: A unique aspect of Georgia's Revolutionary history is that the state's most renowned freedom fighter was a woman - Nancy Hart, after whom is named the present Hart County.  Miss Hart's deeds of bravery included capturing three British regulars and shooting two others dead when they raided her cabin.  The enemy knew her well; and were somewhat in fear of her.  


Connecticut: The Fifth State
  • The Great Drive South: Connecticut was "The Storehouse of the Revolution."  Its rich farmland, ironworks, and vast timber forests provided General Washington's Army with food, heavy artillery, and muskets throughout the war.  The Connecticut supply-line played a crucial part in saving the freezing half-starved troops at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in the winter of 1777.  Connecticut farmers drove several herds of cattle overland south to the terrible encampment just in time. 


Massachusetts: The Sixth State
  • The Battle of Bunker's Hill:  On July 17th 1775, came the first formal confrontation between the British and the Americans.  The entrenched Colonists, faced with the full majesty of the scarlet-clad British Army, repelled two charges with brilliantly-timed fire.  The third British assault succeeded, but the Americans managed an orderly retreat leaving behind 1,054 Redcoats killed or wounded.



Maryland: The Seventh State
  • The Great Fleet Sails: Marylanders experienced particular pride when admiral De Grasse sailed the powerful French Ships of the Line, out of Baltimore bound for Chesapeake Bay in 1781.  Victory over the British by this time was inevitable - and the Maryland troops, drawn from the wealthy families of Baltimore and Annapolis, had heroically proved themselves the crack Regiment of the War, despite dreadful casualties. 



South Carolina: The Eighth State
  • Triumph in the Swamps: the great Southern Campaign of the American Revolution took place between May 1780 and September 1781, with terrible damage inflicted upon King George III's Redcoats.  From out of the treacherous swamplands rode the best American guerrilla fighter of the war, General Francis Marion, who swooped and destroyed almost every British Post in the Carolinas.  He earned his title - "The Swamp Fox."

New Hampshire: The Ninth State
  • An Army Crossing:  British General John Burgoyne wrote to the English Parliament in October 1777, "The Hampshire Grants now abound in the most active and rebellious race on the Continent, and hangs like a gathering storm on my left."  Brigadier General John Stark was the chief cause of Burgoyne's dismay.  His Hampshire militia had just stormed across the Connecticut river from their Charleston, New Hampshire garrison, and routed 1,400 of Burgoyne's crack Hessian troops at the Battle of Bennington.



Virginia: The Tenth State
  • Surrender at Last: after 6 1/2 years, the Revolutionary War ended at Yorktown on October 17th, 1781.  Charging American infantry are depicted tearing down the Union Jack and hauling up the Stars and Stripes.  It was 11 a.m., when the official flag of surrender suddenly appeared through the cannon smoke on the British ramparts, signifying the end of King George III's rule over North America.  More than 7,200 men were given up to General George Washington, the Virginian who commanded the American Army. 



New York: The Eleventh State
  • Defying the King: New Yorkers hauled down a 4,000 lb statue of King George III in July 1776 and converted it into musket balls, "so that the King's men could feel the effect of melted majesty."  Nine weeks later, with New York ablaze, the Army retreating and a British bombardment from the East River, New Yorkers experienced total warfare. 




North Carolina: The Twelfth State
  • The Ladies Speak Out: In 1774 the Ladies of North Carolina signed a pledge to drink no more British tea - which was an act of considerable defiance, since War had not even begun.  When it did, Colonel Richard Caswell's North Carolina militia won the Battle of Moore's Creek in February 1776; and caused the English to abandon their invasion of North Carolina from the sea. 



Rhode Island: The Thirteenth State
  • The Sinking of "Gaspee": Hostile Rhode Islanders were, in effect, at war with the British as early as June 1772.  They boarded, captured and burned the armed British schooner "Gaspee" as it hunted smugglers in Narragansett Bay.  London angrily set up a Commission of enquiry - but, alas, Rhode Islanders suffered a sudden and severe loss of memory, and the investigation collapsed.



2 comments:

  1. Hi, last week I bought same collection. Can you tell me more about it?

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    Replies
    1. Other than what I've already written, these transerware plates are Wedgwood Queen's Ware Plain and were made in 1976 for the American market. All of them have the Wedgwood of Etruria & Barlaston stamp underneath. Enjoy them!

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