This tankard was designed by Friedrich August Moritz Retzsch (1779-1857), a German painter and engraver who was best known for his engraved illustrations of the works of German poets and Shakespeare. The Temperance movement, dedicated to promoting abstinence from intoxicating beverages, gained great popularity in the United States during the nineteenth century. The cause was advocated by churches across the country; by 1833 there were 6,000 local societies. In 1851, the state of Maine went completely dry. Other states soon followed with some form of prohibition. Graphic woodcuts and engravings of debauched drunks helped spread the moral message of the movement.
Another tankard of this design sold in these Rooms, January 18-19, 2001, lot 307.