Even in frontier Illinois, families sought out nice things for their homes. This plate is typical of those used on the Illinois frontier in the 1830s. It was produced by the pottery of brothers Job and John Jackson, located in Staffordshire, England. Operating their pottery from 1831–1835, the Jacksons produced a large amount of pottery for export to the United States, and pottery from the Staffordshire region dominated the Amerian market at the time. Fragments of their wares have been found at archaeological sites across Illinois, including Woodlawn Farm outside Jacksonville.
An 1812 engraving by Cornelius Tiebout served as the basis of the plate’s center scene, after original artwork by John C. Barralet. It depicts the water works building on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, designed by Benjamin Latrobe, the English-born architect who also designed the first version of the United States Capitol Building. Barely visible at the center of the fountain and to the right of the building is a statue of a water nymph holding a bird. The sculpture, “The Spirit of the Schuylkill,” was made by William Rush.
Dickson Mounds Museum has an extensive new exhibit on the American Frontier period from the 1790s to 1840s. Hear archaeologist Robert Mazrim describe life on the frontier and the goods that enriched lives of the early settlers.