Ask-a-Librarian: What a Crock!

Ask-a-Librarian: What a Crock!


The Barnes has both an art and horticulture library. When visitors or students have a question about the Barnes, they ask a librarian.  

Q: Do you know who the figures are supposed to be on the crock in Room 8, against the west wall?

A: According to Beatrice W. B. Garvan, emeritus curator of American decorative arts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, who studied the crock in 2003 for the Barnes Foundation’s collections assessment project,

“[There are] three male heads in profile [that] are painted in cobalt: on the left, facing right, with a beard and prominent buttons, is General Grant; in the middle, facing left, with a pointed nose and striped shoulders, is probably Abraham Lincoln; and on the right, facing left, is an old man's head with a big nose and an open mouth, inscribed ‘Lee.’ 


The principal figures of the Civil War were illustrated in and on most media all over the United States. This depiction of the three, with Lincoln facing Grant and Lee appearing with his mouth open as if to shout or howl, might illustrate the final result of the war.”


Image: Whittemore Pottery, Crock, Salt glazed stoneware,  1868–1875.

Newer Older