Thomas Jefferson’s Acquisition of Transfer Printed Ceramics for Poplar Forest

Author(s): Jack Gary

Year: 2016


Archaeological research at Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s retreat home in Bedford County Virginia, has revealed numerous transfer  printed pearlware patterns on ceramic vessels interpreted as being owned by Jefferson. Despite their mass produced nature, the imagery on these ceramics connects very closely to the aesthetics he tried to achieve in the design of the house and landscape. Did Jefferson or a member of his household, seek out specific patterns through specialized merchants or was the availability and range of options after the War of 1812 so widespread that transfer prints fitting his tastes could be acquired with ease through local sources? This paper will examine the ceramic consumption patterns of Thomas Jefferson and the members of his extended household by combining expense account data with archaeologically recovered transfer printed ceramics. Data from minimum vessel counts suggests multiple avenues through which consumers in the Jefferson household acquired ceramic vessels.

Cite this Record

Thomas Jefferson’s Acquisition of Transfer Printed Ceramics for Poplar Forest. Jack Gary. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434580)


Temporal Keywords
19th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 463