Chicago Antiques Guide

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"Chicago" Pitcher

Posted Monday, August 29 by CAG

Susan wrote in asking about the "Chicago" pitcher mentioned in a previous post about the "Columbus" pitcher. She asked about value and what the scenes represent. You can click on the pictures for larger photos.
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This pitcher was commissioned by Burley & Co., and made by Copeland Spode, for 1894, because of the success of the Columbus Pitcher done for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. It was numbered and sold in limited edition (size of the edition was not published).

The groups of figures represent the history of Chicago from the first visits of the French explorers in the 1600's to the Columbian Exposition of 1893.

There are twelve vignettes on the pitcher, starting with the panorama of the city in flames around the top of the pitcher, representing the Chicago Fire of 1871. There are also 3 oval medallions and 8 smaller scenes.

On the left side of the pitcher (with the spout at left) is the oval containing an image of LeMaix, who bought out Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, who was virtually the first settler. Above and to the left is Mrs O'Leary and her cow, who according to legend kicked over the lantern starting the Chicago Fire. Above right is an image of two indians killing a woman and child, representing the Fort Dearborn Massacre of 1812. Below left is an image of Fort Dearborn. The man in the boat holding the cross is Father Marquette.

On the right side of the pitcher (with the spout at right) is the oval medallion showing the Pottawatomie Indians, 7,000 of whom met in Chicago in 1833, and sold their lands to the government for $1,250,000, and migrated west of the Mississippi. Above left is the first tavern in Chicago with a coach and horses in front. The coach made a weekly trip to Jackson, Michigan, which was the western terminal of the railroad at the time. Above right is a scene representing the volunteer fire department, to which all settlers belonged. Below left is another boat containing the French explorers Joliet, LaSalle and Hennepin, who came here in 1685. Below right is the Old Kinzie Mansion surrounded by poplar trees. It was across the river from Fort Dearborn.
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Under the spout is the third oval medallion with an allegorical figure entitled "I Will" representing the spirit of strength that rebuilt Chicago from the ashes of the Great Fire of 1871. This statue stood at the Columbian Expostion of 1893.

This information was contained in a pamphlet that came with the Chicago Pitcher when purchased from Burley & Co. This and the Columbus pitcher were so popular that Burley & Co. used the basic shape for there advertising card. The Chicago pitcher usually sells for $400-$500, a little less than the Columbus pitcher which is sought after by World's Fair collectors and brings $500-$600.
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