SPECIAL ADVISORY: In accordance with Yale University’s revised COVID-19 protocols, the Yale University Art Gallery is closed to the public until further notice. Learn More

American Decorative Arts
Manufacturer: Enoch Wood and Sons, British, 1820–1846

Plate with View of a Union Line Steamboat


Earthenware with transfer-printed decoration

9 in. (22.8 cm)
Mabel Brady Garvan Collection

The Union Line, formed in 1820, was the most popular passenger steamer service running between Philadelphia and New York. An injunction against the use of New York waters, which was lifted in 1824, initially required the company to provide that leg of the journey by stagecoach, before transferring passengers back to the steamer. To save time on busy routes, passenger steamships such as this one merely slowed down their paddle wheel and released a small launch tethered to a rope. The launch would ferry passengers and luggage to the shore and pick up new ones before the steamer cranked it back in. This plate depicts this activity, with some recently disembarked passengers on the bank in the foreground.

The source of this view is uncertain but certainly copies another plate produced by Wood featuring the Chief Justice Marshall of the Troy Line (inv. no. 1930.3131). That image may have been taken from an advertisement. The transfer-printed shell border was one of the firm’s stock designs and could be reused to decorate many different pieces.

Manufactured in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England
Depicted Pennsylvania, Delaware River, United States
Depicted New Jersey, Delaware River, United States
19th century
Containers - Ceramics
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.