A large, finely-potted Wedgwood Queensware punch bowl. This piece, known as the Philadelphia Bowl was manufactured for Bailey Bank and Biddle, the Philadelphia jewelry store. The shape of the blank comes from 18th century examples of English creamware punch bowls, which in turn copied the form from Chinese Export pieces.
It was designed by Alan Price in 1959, to commemorate the signing of the Articles of Confederation, the document which created the first government for the United States.
The bowl features a complex decorative plan of transfer-printed elements, primarily relating to the city of Philadelphia. These images were drawn from the archives of the Pennsylvania Historical Society.
The exterior of the bowl is decorated with four scenes of Philadelphia in the 1770's: The great country house Lemon Hill and another mansion on the "Hills" overlooking the Schuylkill above what is now Boat House Row; Christ Church on 2nd Street above Market, where George Washington worshiped; William Strickland's Merchants' (later Corn) Exchange, the predecessor of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and one of the finest Greek Revival building in the United States; and the Pennsylvania State House (better known today as Independence Hall) in a rare view, as seen from the southwest and what is now known as Washington Square. These four scenes are separated by botanical images of four of the trees which give the major street of Center City their names: Walnut, Locust, Chestnut and Mulberry (now Arch).
The interior bottom of the bowl features an image of the signing of the Articles. The interior rim is decorated with a swag garland punctuated by two images of soldiers repeated twice: one standing and one on horseback. Between these are several flags, including the flag of the United States and the Union Jack. Above that the motto, "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants There of" repeated twice. This motto, from Leviticus 25:10, was cast into the Liberty Bell, and is in part responsible for the bell's name.
This bowl was manufactured for a number of years for BB&B and comes in two sizes. This example is the larger of the two. it is illustrated (as an example of the work of designer Alan Price) in Robin Reilly's "Wedgwood: New illustrated Dictionary", which also contains an entry specifically on the bowl.
It is 12.5" in diameter and 5" tall.
Marked on the bottom: Printed Wedgwood and Bailey, Banks & Biddle marks, along with the title of the bowl and some information about its design. No impressed marks, which means this is a later example, dating probably to the 1970's (the earlier examples have impressed Wedgwood date marks).
Condition: Two restored scratches to the interior center, which can only be seen when closely examined under raking light. It does me that this piece is purely decorative.
This bowl is one of the finest examples of the skills of the modern Wedgwood pottery. It is frequently used as a presentation gift by the City of Philadelphia (and many city institutions -both public and private) to visiting dignitaries and other people of note.