Portrayed in Porcelain
Washington’s crossing of the Delaware turned the tide of the Revolutionary War
December 25, 1776... A bitter wind swept across a river filled with winter ice floes. But frigid temperatures and an impending storm were not enough to convince George Washington to cancel his daring plan to surprise the Hessian troops in New Jersey. Things had gone poorly in 1776 and he desperately needed a victory. The military password of the day was resolute – “Victory... or Death.” For Continental soldiers, the crossing of the Delaware facilitated their decisive victory at the Battle of Trenton. It also created an American icon.
In 1904, the Trenton Potteries Company chose Washington’s crossing as the subject for the “Trenton Vase,” a monumental porcelain urn displayed at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in Saint Louis. Lucien Boullemier, the urn’s artist, used Emanuel Leutze’s famous painting of the crossing as his inspiration. A composite work of five skilled craftsmen, the urn required seven kiln firings in order to bring out the brilliant colors. It was oneof four grandiose urns on display at the Exposition.