This ceramic trivet depicts the novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–1896) surrounded by the protagonists of her antislavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). Made in England for the American market, this trivet is an example of the “Tom mania” that raged on both sides of the Atlantic as consumers bought stationery, wallpaper, and even card games inspired by this wildly popular novel. The title character, Uncle Tom, is depicted in chains along with his wife and a child, from whom he was separated when he was sold “down river” to a plantation in the Deep South.
- Designer: After George Cruikshank, British, 1792-1878
- Medium: Glazed earthenware
- Place Manufactured: England
- Dates: ca. 1855
- Dimensions: 3/8 x 6 5/8 in. (1 x 16.8 cm) (show scale)
- Markings: Unmarked
- Collections:Decorative Arts
- Museum Location: This item is on view in American Identities: A New Look, Everyday Life/A Nation Divided, 5th Floor
- Accession Number: 2013.37.1
- Credit Line: Caroline A.L. Pratt Fund
- Caption: After George Cruikshank (British, 1792-1878). Trivet, ca. 1855. Glazed earthenware, 3/8 x 6 5/8 in. (1 x 16.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Caroline A.L. Pratt Fund, 2013.37.1
- Catalogue Description: A circular earthenware trivet with a white ground and a central motif transfer-printed in teal ink. The central medallion depicts a bust portrait of Harriet Beecher Stowe above a rectangular label inscribed: “Ms. HARRIET BEECHER STOWE/ THE AUTHOR OF/ UNCLE TOM’S CABIN”. Eight characters of the novel stand in an arch around the medallion in various attitudes of respect and reverence, the figure of a girl at the top center holding a halo over the portrait’s head . A whip lies inert in the foreground and the group is surrounded by tall weeds interspersed between the figures. The raised rim along the circumference decorated with a thin teal line. CONDITION: Very good condition.
- Record Completeness: Best (84%)