Friday, December 17, 2010

Good Luck in the N(ewe) Y(ear)'s L(otter)y

Hieroglyphs, cuneiform, Latin words in gothic script, a rebus lottery ticket, hand written letters of Thomas Jefferson - all of these can be found at The Alice. Only one, however, relates directly to the New Year... It is a wonderful little lottery ticket - or ad for the lottery - hanging on our third floor.

This special ticket - a rebus - was printed in London in 1816-1817 utilizing a puzzle language that combined words, parts of words, and illustrations. In some cases the picture represents the sound of another word, such as a drawing of a female sheep (ewe) to mean 'you'... at other times it represents the actual word, as in the picture of a man for the word 'man'. The word Rebus is Latin meaning "by things" and it can refer to the symbols that represent words or phrases, or it may be used to refer to the entire document on which a rebus is employed.

Alice's lottery ticket is a framed rebus, bought in England in 1939, that has become more difficult to comprehend as society has changed. Symbols that would have been more universal in 1817 are now more challenging to decipher. For example, the author frequently uses a small image of a square brick building for the word or sound 'in'. Without the translation at the bottom of the page, I would not have known that this little building was an Inn!

It was popular in the 18th and early 19th century to write letters in rebus form. The most well known user of the rebus may be Lewis Carroll who wrote rebus puzzle letters to young friends, as well as looking glass letters that had to be held up to a mirror to be read. Another common use of the rebus was for heraldic coats of arms, or a family crest, in which pictures represent the family name or history.

Many ancient languages employed pictures to convey more complex ideas when a hieroglyph could not directly represent the word or concept. Our lottery ticket (or ad) is not a very complex document, just a lot of fun to look at and try to decipher without the help of the tiny translation printed at the bottom of the page. The lottery office would surely have wanted to make this document eye-catching and fun, yet including the solution to the puzzle was necessary to ensure they got the word out and sold more tickets!

After this week our lottery ticket, and the entire collection, will be somewhat inaccessible until we open again for tours in the spring of 2011. In the meantime, come and visit and see for yourself if you are able to decipher this wonderful document - Oh! - and do have a Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Emma and the Wedgwood Collection

In 1917 Alice and William were visited at their Heart's Delight Farm in Chazy by a dear friend from Chicago, Emma Blanxius Hodge. Emma had come that long way not just to relax, visit with her friends, and enjoy the fresh country air. She had also planned to catalog Alice's burgeoning collection of china. It was appropriate that Mrs. Hodge should offer her extensive knowledge of decorative arts to her friend in this way since she was responsible for getting Mrs. Miner started with the collection in the first place.

If one were to mention they collect Wedgwood, their statement might merely conjure some vague notion that they were interested in pottery. What the majority of us likely would not realize is the breadth of pottery designs such a collection might include. This is what I hope to illustrate with the newest exhibit at The Alice. My intent was to display some of the Wedgwood pottery Alice collected in the early 1900s, and in the process found a wide variety of the types of objects Wedgwood Manufactory sold starting in 1758.

Of the thirteen pieces I have chosen for our Wedgwood exhibit, ten are described in the 1917 inventory Hodge penned. Emma wrote descriptions, and labeled and numbered more than 350 objects for Alice that summer. Along the way she included information about each pottery type, and its style and manufacturer. The catalog consists of 116 typewritten pages of very detailed information about a collection now housed in the Ballroom of The Alice T. Miner Museum.

Emma wrote, "This compiled catalog is dedicated to my dear friends of Heart's Delight Farm, who, while they were laboring with the knitting needle for our soldiers at the front, permitted me to assemble these facts concerning the collection of pottery and porcelain in the Matilda Trainer collection, and furnished for me a summer of fragrant and unforgettable associations.
Emma B. Hodge.
Heart's Delight Farm,
Chazy, New York.
August, 28, 1917"

Alice Miner named her collection of British and American porcelain and earthenware in memory of her recently departed oldest sister Matilda, who passed away on February 14, 1917 - just weeks before her 65th birthday. Emma's visit probably helped to ease the acute loss Alice must have felt that summer. Twelve years older than Alice, Matilda was much more than a sister - she had stepped in to help raise the younger children after their mother died in 1870, followed too soon by their father in 1876.

The objects currently exhibited in the Dining Room of The Alice range widely in style, glaze and intended use, as well as in taste! Included is a handsome black basalt bust portrait of George Washington, circa 1790. It is the largest and most striking Wedgwood object in the collection. When you come for a tour you will also see an ironstone china teapot made by Wedgwood that once belonged to William Miner's grandmother Lydia that was given to Alice for her collection by his aunt Huldah Miner in 1917. One of the more whimsical objects is a small teapot shaped like a cauliflower, realistic enough that it made a docent who is allergic to cauliflower sneeze while helping to install the exhibit!

Another Chicago collector represented in this Wedgwood exhibit, Frank Wakely Gunsaulus, was a mutual friend of the Miners and Emma B. Hodge. Gunsaulus was a major collector of illuminated manuscripts, ancient texts, decorative arts, as well as Wedgwood, and his influence on Alice's collection can be seen in numerous extraordinary objects in The Alice's collection. Many of the objects he had gathered, including an Old Wedgwood collection, were donated to The Art Institute of Chicago. The Alice and The Art Institute each own one of a pair of matching flower vases once owned by Mr. Gunsaulus. He had originally donated both to The Art Institute, yet then removed one from their collection to give to Alice. They are Wedgwood jasperware vases described by Mrs. Hodge as; "Flower Holder. Light blue jasper with white figures in low relief of children playing blind man's buff. Classic borders and octagonal base with geometric border in white low relief. Circa 1785. From the Frank W. Gunsaulus Collection of 'Old Wedgwood' in The Art Institute of Chicago."

The Wedgwood jasperware flower holder at The Art Institute of Chicago,
photo used with permission.

The jasperware flower vase in The Alice collection.

There is truly something for everyone in this Wedgwood exhibit: from teapots to sculptures, plates to flower vases - with a variety of glazes - from wonderful green glaze, to black basalt, or merely "plain" white glaze. There are Queen's ware, jasperware, Flo Blue, daisies, cucumber leaves, cauliflower and crocus... I can see Emma Hodge, Frank Gunsaulus and Alice Miner gathered around the dining table admiring these beautifully made and lovingly collected objects. Come to The Alice, squint your eyes a bit, and find out if you can see those folks too... Or just come to enjoy the collection!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Do You Want Your Receipt?

How old are the oldest objects in the Alice collection? Approximately 4,000 years! What are they? fossils?... a saber toothed tiger tooth? No, and no... there are fossils in the collection, no teeth though - and saber toothed tigers were long gone by the time these objects were created. These are human-made objects inscribed with the earliest known writing system in the world - cuneiform.

Cuneiform evolved from a more pictographic type of writing using stylized representations of real objects. The lines employed to represent each object evolved as they were pared down and simplified, gradually becoming words that no longer looked like the objects they described. The writing was incised in moist clay with a stylus made of a sharpened reed, and the clay tablets were in turn baked to preserve the writing. Cuneiform writing was developed in southern Mesopotamia by the Sumerians over 5,000 years ago, and was later adopted in the same region by the Babylonians and others.

Included in the eclectic collection in the American Indian Room at The Alice are five small clay tablets, each less than two inches square, all created in 2100 - 2400 B.C. in ancient Mesopotamia, (which roughly corresponds geographically with modern Iraq). Two of our cuneiform tablets were found at Drehem, and three at Tell Jokha. Drehem is the modern name for the ancient city of Pazurish-Dagan, which was known as a distribution area for ancient Mesopotamia. Livestock was brought to Pazurish-Dagan to be redistributed to temples, officials and palaces in nearby Nippur. The two tablets in our collection found in Drehem are both receipts for sheep; one to be brought to market, with the others to be offered to the temple in honor of the gods Bel and Belit.

Tell Jokha is the modern name for the Sumerian city of Umma. Two of the tablets from this area are receipts for temple offerings or supplies, but the third is a bit more interesting because it is a list of supplies given to a temple messenger for a journey, and the items include oil, dates and bread. This particular piece is made from clay that is darker than the other four, and it has many more words contained in a tighter, more concisely written script.

Object X.2909 in The Alice collection.
This tablet lists supplies given to a temple messenger needed for a journey. Dated ca. 2350 B.C.

Another of the tablets found at Tell Jokha is described in the accompanying card... "A typical receipt of the temple offerings. After the tablet was written, and while the clay was still soft, the Temple Scribe rolled over the entire tablet his cylindrical stone seal, and the seal impression made it impossible to change the record. Seal impression bears name of scribe in raised characters, the seated figure of the Moon-god Sin of Ur, and the standing figures of priests. Dated about 2350 B.C."

Object X.2911 in The Alice collection. Dated ca. 2350 B.C.

If the date given these tablets is correct, they would have been produced during the Early Bronze Age in the area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers... an area many scholars have referred to as the cradle of civilization. Year-round farming was first started in this area. By fostering a less migratory civilization with a large population base and a specialized work force, this method of farming contributed to the development of a written language. We can see that livestock, for example, was often moved to centralized locations near big cities to be distributed to temples, officials and palaces. This soon required development of a method to keep records of the myriad transactions.

It's exciting for me to closely inspect these small square pieces of clay and muse about the busy ancient civilization that created them. Cuneiform was in use and continued to evolve for approximately another 3,000 years. The eventual extinction of cuneiform, however, was so complete that the meaning of the writing was completely lost until around 1850 A.D. The clay tablets are so old, and were used by people with lives so different from our own, but they served a currently common purpose - receipts! They were not created as works of art, but instead as necessary objects of daily life. These little tablets would not fit in your wallet, but they will last much longer than your grocery receipt!

An illustration of the ancient cities of Sumer, a civilization and historical region centered during the Early Bronze Age around the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Likeness in Profile

Art and history can often be found in the most surprising places. For example, while driving along the interstate recently, I spotted a silhouette... we've all seen her - she may be the most commonly reproduced silhouette of our time - mud flap girl! Although this may seem to some a modern and novel way to depict a beautiful woman, this type of illustration has a long history and was once a very popular form of low-cost portraiture.

The Alice's collection holds a lovely group of thirty slightly more sophisticated silhouettes of men, women and children, collected by Alice in the early 20th century. The silhouettes are displayed together in the Sheraton Room on the second floor. They are wonderful little gems, exhibited in a wide variety of metal and wooden frames. Most are portraits of unnamed persons, but we know who a few of the people are - Benjamin Franklin, Martha Washington, John Ruskin, Aaron Burr, you may not recognize other names; Oscar Dinsmore-Davis (age 10 months and four days,) Margaret Davidson (her daughter was a poetic prodigy who died quite young,) Lucretia Platt, Alexander Potter, Eugenie (which may be the likeness of Empress Eugenie - wife of Napoleon III, and the last Empress of the French.)

Eugenie, 1870

The silhouette collection runs the gamut of the ways people were pictured - from the view of only the head, to full body profiles. One of the latter method depicts Alexander Potter and his dog. The Potter silhouette was created in 1829 by Auguste Amant Constant Fidéle Edouart (1789-1861.) Mr. Potter's and his dog's silhouettes were cut out of black paper and mounted on white paper, on which a split rail fence was lightly painted. The riding crop he holds is partly of cut paper and partly painted.

Alexander Potter by Aug. Edouart 1829 photo: PHOTOPIA/Shaun Heffernan

On the back of our Edouart silhouette is the following printed label,

Executed by Mons. Edouart,
Who begs to observe, that his Likenesses are produced by the Scissors alone, and are preferable to any taken by Machines, inasmuch as by the above method, the expression of the Passions, and peculiarities of Character, are brought into action, in a style which has not hitherto been attempted by any other Artist..."

The methods used to create these images also varied widely, some were cut black silhouettes, mounted on white paper (which may be blank, or painted, or lithographed with a background scene) - some had the white paper as the cut silhouette which was then mounted on black - still others were produced by painting directly on glass, wax, plaster, or even ivory.

Auguste Edouart began cutting silhouettes in 1825 to prove an argument - he tells a story of "bustling the old father into a proper position, seizing a pair of scissors from a work basket, blacking a quickly torn piece of paper with the candle snuffers, and snipping a silhouette infinitely superior to the mechanical shade the family had been commending. It was at once approved of and found so like, that the ladies changed their teasing and ironical tone to praises, and begged me to take their mother's likeness, which I did with the same facility and exactness." Clearly Edouart was somewhat arrogant, but many others admired his work.

Auguste Edouart self portrait

Edouart was born in Dunkirk, France, fought valiantly in Napoleon's army and was decorated. He later moved to England where he traveled the country cutting portraits of British and French nobility. He came to the U.S. in 1839, just a few months before the daguerreotype made it to America, and stayed for ten years cutting silhouettes of Presidents and well-known Americans. On the return journey his ship sank and most of the folios full of copies of his thousands of silhouettes were lost. It is said that he never produced another after that ill-fated day.

Tracing the shadow of a figure thrown onto the wall was a means of portraiture employed as early as the Greek culture. This method did not receive the name "silhouette" until the 18th century, when it was named for a French finance minister who enjoyed creating likenesses made of cut paper... an inexpensive and fun method of portraiture. Other terms include; shade, scissor writing, paper profiles, paper cuts, black shades (a term Edouart hated!,) shadows, and profiles. The most famous English silhouette artist was John Miers (1756-1821.) Alice Miner also acquired a Miers silhouette of the head of a young woman created with black ink on gessoed plaster.

Head of a young woman by Miers, 19th century

Silhouettes became less prominent with the invention of the camera, rapidly losing popularity in the United States after 1840. They continued to be a type of artwork found at fairs and tourist sites for much of the 20th century, and silhouette artists can still be found today, selling their unique brand of portraiture as a more specialized and nostalgic niche item. If you might be thinking of becoming a silhouette artist, you would do well to visit The Alice and study our collection!

Tours are at 10:00, noon, and 2:00 Tuesday - Saturday.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Manual Cooling...

There are no less than twenty-four meanings listed for the word "fan" on We click a button on Facebook to become a "fan"... we fan out the cards to do a magic trick... but the only kind of fans I can think about these HOT and humid days are the ones that can produce a lovely breeze!

This is a serious fan... to provide maximum cooling, or at least adornment for the photographic subject.

The Alice collection holds eighteen beautiful fans of ivory, lithographed paper, feathers, mother-of-pearl, lace, voile, ebonized wood, lacquered wood, and even black satin. No, you wouldn't plug these particular fans into the wall socket to produce a breeze. Instead you would gracefully and languidly twitter the fan with your hand to cool your blushing cheeks!

Francisco de Goya "Woman with Fan" Louvre Museum

Left: Mother-of-pearl and lace fan. Right: Fan of printed and hand-tinted paper showing a pastoral scene, pierced ivory staves, silvered and gilded. The fan on the right has the added bonus of a tiny mirror on the outer stave.

Fans were so commonly used in the 18th and 19th century that they were even occasionally designed as a part of a woman's ensemble. These accoutrements served to cool an overheated lady while also adorning her in the ways she might wear jewelry today. The fan complimented one's attire, and even helped a young woman communicate with the men around her. Look up "The Language of the Fan" on the web and you will discover a language lost (and unnecessary?) to the modern woman.

French hand-colored lithographic fan with ebonized wood staves, mid 19th century.

Painted black satin fan with ebonized staves, showing a bullfight and Spanish dancers, circa 1885.

French painted paper fan with pierced ivory staves, painted with scenes after Watteau.

Detail of the ornate, florid decorations after Watteau.

(Photo: PHOTOPIA/Shaun Heffernan) Chinese intricately carved ivory fan, circa 1900, inside a Victorian Tunbridge Ware wood fan box showing a romantic landscape inlaid design on the cover and lined with silk, 19th century... being admired (?) by a bronze and ivory sculpture of Napoleon.

On these eighty-something degree days here at The Alice I find myself peering around my desk for something to fan myself as I type. Of course, I can't go up to the Lincoln Library, open the chest of drawers and borrow a lady's fan with French hand-tinted lithograph held by ebonized wood staves... for one thing, it wouldn't match my outfit!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Gazing into the Future... and Other Rites of Passage

High school graduation is often the first significant secular ritual in the lives of young Americans. There are other rituals in which we may participate earlier in life - we celebrate birthdays, observe family traditions, we participate in religious ceremonies and rites... but walking across the stage, reaching out to shake the Principal's hand while claiming one's diploma is a distinctly individual accomplishment... It's a moment we have earned - and an important rite of passage.

The term "Rite of Passage" was coined by anthropologist Arnold van Gennep, and was the title of his 1909 book. He stated that passage rituals consist of three stages: Separation (from society), then Transformation, and finally - Return to society with New Status.

As I learn more about Chazy Central Rural School and it's traditions I have admired how they have managed to retain many of their traditions from the very early days of the school. There are numerous rituals CCRS students experience, either directly or as observers, over the course of their years at Chazy. In just a few weeks I hope to attend Class Day, which is a Rite of Passage for Juniors, and a very powerful ritual and Rite of Passage for graduating Seniors.

At The Alice we have a wonderful mercury glass gazing ball that has been in the collection since the 1920s. I think of rites of passage when I see the gazing ball in the first floor hall. For a number of years this object was used on Class Day to predict the future of graduating Seniors.

The story goes that William and Alice Miner's employee, John M. Maslowski, and another worker from Heart's Delight Farm would drive to The Alice T. Miner Museum, collect the gazing ball from the Director/Curator, drive around to CCRS (as Mr. Maslowski held the gazing ball gently in the back seat,) and deliver it to the auditorium stage - returning the object to the museum in the same careful way after the ceremony. For those of you who have not been to The Alice - walking with the object over to our neighboring school would have taken about the same amount of time - but was not considered a safe enough mode of delivery, I presume!

Mercury glass is not actually made with mercury, but is clear glass blown with a double wall and coated inside with a silvering formula inserted through the hole left by the punty rod (the rod attached to the glass while it is being blown.) The hole is then plugged and the object is complete!

This method of producing mercury glass was developed in Germany in the early 19th century and was used as an inexpensive type of silver substitute - one that would not tarnish. Many candlesticks, doorknobs, vases, sugar bowls, goblets, and gazing balls were produced using this method. One method of production did incorporate the use of mercury, but it was found to be too toxic and more expensive than the more popular lining.

Critics of mercury glass felt it looked too much like a mirror and not enough like silver - but proponents liked it for this very reason. And, any thief could tell when they were looking at inexpensive mercury glass, and not at silver!

These days Alice's mercury glass gazing ball tells no tales at CCRS of future conquests. It merely sits in a quiet corner of the hall until Christmas decorating time, when it often comes out to be graced by a garland and placed on a windowsill for maximum effect. Yet if one were to visit our museum and pause to gaze into it, oh the tales it might yield of both the past, and one's bright future!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Alice on Ivory

When you visit our museum website ( the first image you see is a lovely painted portrait of Alice T. Miner welcoming you to the site. The original, on loan from Miner Institute, sits on a table in the Parlor here at the museum, and it is truly a lovely image. The portrait was done on ivory by Mira Edgerly Korzybski, a well-known woman artist in her day. Miniature painted portraiture had fallen off in popularity with the rise of photography, but the genre was making a come-back with artists who appreciated the works they were still seeing in Europe.

Alice T. Miner painted portrait by Mira Edgerly, ca. 1915

A largely self-taught artist, Mira Edgerly was born in Illinois in 1879, but grew up in Michigan where her father was an inventor and the director of the Michigan Central Railroad. Her fascination with drawing started when she was quite young, and as a teen she was sent to Europe to study art in England and Paris. Mira later studied at the Art Institute in San Francisco where she met and posed for her friend, photographer Arnold Genthe. John Singer Sargent urged her to pursue her love of portraiture by painting on ivory.

Mira Edgerly Burt (Mr. Burt was her first husband) portrait by Arnold Genthe

Mira Edgerly eventually took the medium one step further by painting on larger pieces of ivory, such as the 4.5"x 10" portrait of our founder, Alice T. Miner. Mira chose more translucent pieces of ivory to give greater luminescence to her colors, ordering the large pieces from London. Her skills were in demand around the world and she painted portraits of socialites, statesman and the upper echelons of American and European society in New York, London, Paris, San Francisco, Chicago, and Latin America.

In 1919 Mira Edgerly married her second husband Alfred Korzybski, a Polish-American philosopher and scientist best known for developing the theory of General Semantics. She led an extremely interesting life! She worked to forward the career of Gertrude Stein, and painted a portrait of Princess Patricia, a grand daughter of Queen Victoria, while in Ottawa. Mira Edgerly is mentioned in the autobiography of Alice B. Toklas in 1933, "Mildred Aldrich once brought a very extraordinary person Myra Edgerly. I remembered very well that when I was quite young and went to a fancy-dress ball, a Mardi Gras ball in San Francisco, I saw a very tall and very beautiful and very brilliant woman there. This was Myra Edgerly young. Genthe, the well known photographer did endless photographs of her, mostly with a cat. She had come to London as a miniaturist and she had one of those phenomenal successes that Americans do have in Europe. She had miniatured everybody, and the royal family, and she had maintained her earnest gay careless outspoken San Francisco way through it all."

An independent and strong character seemed to sustain her and help further her career as well as those of her friends. Today, however, there is not much known about Ms. Korzybski. Her work can be found at The Art Institute in Chicago, and there is a large collection of her personal papers, letters, journals and photographs, along with forty of her ivory portraits at Columbia University in New York City. But if you are in northern New York, you need only travel to The Alice to see an amazing example of her work!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Charles F. Moore Civil War Letters

The Alice has a very diverse and deep collection. The most obvious elements of the collection are those one would see on a tour of the museum: decorative arts, furniture, samplers, pewter settings, lovely paintings, engravings, and prints... What most visitors do not explore are the archives.

Among the many letters, photographs, and papers in the archives relating to Alice and William Miner are; postcards from Europe, volumes full of holiday cards from the 1900s, letters written by famous Americans such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, journals written by William Miner's relatives, and a wonderful collection of over 100 Japanese woodblock prints.

I have written about a few of these precious documents before, and exhibited may of those mentioned. A few years ago the museum transposed a very interesting collection of letters written by a north country lad named Charles Moore. These letters are on our website,, as a permanent "floating" exhibit. We have placed images of the letters along with a typed version for easy reading.

If you would like to read about young Mr. Moore's experiences serving as Quartermaster with the 16th NY Infantry and later with 16th NY Sprague Light Cavalry defending Washington, DC, in his own words, simply go to the website, click the "Enter" button on the front page, and then click the link next to President Lincoln's photograph on the top right of every page.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

An Ode to the Farmer and the Harvest

We have often seen a bumper sticker that says, "No Farms No Food." This may be interpreted in a few different ways, but - as have other professions - the farming community has been advertising its contributions to society for hundreds of years. As tools used on the farm have evolved, so have the methods of keeping the farmers' perspective fresh in the minds of the consuming public.

"Arms" Jug ca. 1800

We have just a few objects in the museum collection that would be used on the farm - a scythe or two, a beautiful hay rake, and milk collecting jugs. The museum also houses some interesting farm propaganda tools. The most charming is a two-handled mug (or jug as it would have been referred to) made around 1800. As mugs go, this one is large - holding approximately 32 ounces. The white exterior is decorated in polychrome colors and illustrated on one side with a farmer and his wife, various farm implements, animals and crops. On the opposite side is a twelve-line poem surrounded by a border of farm tools and products. The inside rim of our mug is decorated in a simple stylized design of wheat stalks and green leaves.

Book label pasted on the inside front cover of the above book. Alice and
William often had labels on the books kept at Heart's Delight Farm.

This style of jug was originally made by Richard Abbey (1720-1801) in Liverpool, England. Our copy of "The Old China Book" by N. Hudson Moore, published in 1903, mentions this was one of a series of "Arms" jugs created by Abbey. The museum copy of this book is well worn and has the Heart's Delight Farm library label pasted inside the front cover. This indicates it was one of Alice's personal reference books. Many of her tomes in the museum collection are reference books about decorative arts. Alice clearly wanted to know as much as she could about the objects she was collecting.

According to Moore there are Arms jugs for many professions; including the Blacksmith, with the motto "By Hammer and Hand All Arts Do Stand," the Baker, the Butcher, and even the Hatter. The motto on the Farmer's jug is "The Husbandman's Diligence Provides Bread." The lines on the back of the jug read;

"Let the wealthy and great
Roll in splendour and state.
I envy them not I declare it.
I eat my own lamb
My own chickens and ham.
I shear my own fleece and I wear it.
I have lawns I have bowers
I have fruits I have flowers.
The lark is my morning alarmer:
So my jolly boys now
Heres God speed the plough.
Long life and success to the farmer."

This poem has been used for many years in songs and odes under various titles: "The Farmer's Toast," "God Speed the Plough," and "The Farmer's Creed" being a few we have identified. It may have been borrowed from a popular song of the day, however, it's unclear to us which came first. The originator of the Arms mugs was a talented engraver who may have drawn on popular sayings or songs for the poem to support his design.

According to museum records this jug has been in Alice's collection since before 1917. That is the year Alice's dear friend and fellow collector, Emma Hodge, wrote a catalog of her porcelain collection. Undoubtedly, being the advocate he was for farmers and their hard working ways, William Miner also appreciated the sentiment this jug bears!

And so, in honor of the harvest which feeds us through the winter months, "Long life and success to the farmer!"